GlaxoSmithKline’s (LON:GSK) majority-owned HIV unit ViiV Healthcare has filed a lawsuit against rival Gilead, whose triple-combination therapy for treatment of HIV infection was approved in the US yesterday. The move came after the FTSE 100 group updated investors on its full-year performance, disclosing a rise in total sales for the year, while sounding a note of caution on earnings going forward, due to possible competition from cheaper generics to its flagship respiratory treatment Advair.
GSK’s share price rallied in the previous session, as investors digested the pharmco’s results, adding 3.43 percent to close at 1,285.40p. The group’s shares outperformed the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index gaining 138.02 points to end the session 1.93 percent higher at 7,279.42.
GSK announced in a statement this morning that its majority-owned ViiV Healthcare unit had filed patent infringement litigation against Gilead Sciences Inc over the group’s bictegravir treatment in the US and Canada. The GSK unit will seek to prove that the triple-combination drug, which contains the HIV integrase inhibitor bictegravir, infringes ViiV’s patent covering dolutegravir and other compounds which include the treatment’s ‘unique chemical scaffold’.
A GSK spokeswoman Sarah Spencer told Reuters that the HIV division was seeking ‘financial redress,’ but is not asking for an injunction against sales of Gilead’s Biktarvy. The newswire quoted Gilead as saying in an emailed statement that it remained “steadfast in our opinion that Biktarvy does not infringe ViiV’s US patent”.
Analysts weigh in
“We believe that a modest royalty could be possible far down the road if Gilead were to lose” the patent case, Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a research note, as quoted by Reuters. The newswire notes that Wall Street analysts on average forecast Biktarvy sales of around $1 billion this year, rising to a peak of nearly $5 billion annually by 2024, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.