Madras HC sets aside Valcyte patent

Madras HC sets aside Valcyte patent

Mumbai: A Madras high court bench on Tuesday set aside the patent granted to Swiss drug maker F. Hoffman-La Roche AG for its anti-infection drug valganciclovir.

Hearing a petition filed by patient groups — Indian Network for People Living with HIV/AIDS and Tamilnadu Networking People with HIV/AIDS — the court cited the failure of the Chennai patent office to comply with the patent law and sent the matter back to the patent office.

The patient groups had challenged the Chennai patent office’s decision to grant patent to Roche’s drug without hearing a pre-grant opposition filed by these groups in 2006. Mint had reported on 18 November.

The patent grant to this drug in 2007 had invited strong criticism from the patient groups as well as Indian drug makers as the molecule, sold by Roche under the brand name Valcyte in India and other international markets, was allegedly patented first before 1995, and hence not qualified for patent exclusivity in India.

Indian drug makers such as Cipla Ltd, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd and a few other not-for-profit organizations have also filed post-grant opposition to this patent at the Chennai patent office.

Meanwhile, Roche is also fighting a patent infringement case on this drug against Cipla as the latter had launched a generic version of this drug in India early this year.