Janssen, a pharmaceutical division of multinational medical company Johnson & Johnson, has voluntarily dropped a lawsuit it filed to block Renflexis, a copy of its rheumatoid arthritis drug Remicade, produced by Samsung Bioepis Co., a biotechnology research and development unit of South Korea’s largest conglomerate Samsung Group, Samsung Bioepis said on Tuesday.
Renflexis is a biosimilar version of Janssen’s blockbuster drug Remicade, an antibody used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, and psoriasis. Remicade is J&J’s biggest selling drug, with sales of about $5 billion a year in the U.S. alone.
Janssen had filed the patent lawsuit against Samsung Bioepis in the U.S. District Court of New Jersey court in May, arguing that the Korean firm’s biosimilar violated its three manufacturing process patents.
Samsung Bioepis and Janssen’s Korean operation reached for comment said the exact reason of the withdrawal is out of their knowledge. Market watchers say Janssen attempted to bar the entry of Renflexis into the American market, but it dismissed the suit due to low odds of winning the court battle.
Janssen’s withdrawal of the lawsuit will be a positive step to Samsung Bioepis in further bolstering Renflexis sales in the U.S. Merck & Co. is currently responsible for marketing of the biosimilar drug across the U.S.
By Kim Hye-soon and Minu Kim
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