Jury Finds for Merck in Hepatitis Drug Fight With Gilead

By Linda A. Johnson, AP Business Writer | Mar 22, 2016, 7:53 PM ET

A federal jury in California has ruled in favor of drugmaker Merck & Co. in a high-stakes lawsuit against rival Gilead Sciences Inc. over patents for lucrative new drugs that rapidly cure hepatitis C.

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Merck accused Gilead of infringing on patents it filed over a decade ago, claiming Gilead’s sofosbuvir infringes on those patents. Merck, which is based in Kenilworth, New Jersey, is seeking billions in damages and royalties on sales of Gilead’s two hepatitis drugs.

Sofosbuvir is the active ingredient in Gilead’s Sovaldi and a component of its Harvoni. They were launched in 2013 and 2014, respectively, and became blockbusters overnight. Together, the two drugs brought in $19.1 billion last year — nearly two-thirds of total revenue for Gilead, a biologic drugmaker based in Foster City, California.

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