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Court reopens Pfizer v MSD

Posted 12 November 2019

The Federal Court has reopened a case between MSD and Pfizer over the latter's Prevenar 13 patents after Pfizer said it had one more infringement claim it wanted to air. 

The Court's Justice Stephen Burley last week granted leave for Pfizer's request to add another claim that MSD's upcoming 15-valent vaccine infringed on its Prevenar patents and set a court hearing for mid-March 2020.

The request is related to a surfactant patent which Pfizer claims MSD's new vaccine infringes upon. 

The latest development brings the case to its third year running after MSD initiated it in August 2017 claiming Pfizer's Prevenar patents were invalid and asking the Court to revoke them. 

Pfizer hit back with cross-claims saying MSD was in fact infringing on its Prevenar patents. A judgment following these initial hearings was reserved in February.

In July, Pfizer asked the Court to reopen the case saying it discovered a published study it was not aware of when initially filing the cross-claims. Pfizer argued these supported an additional infringement claim, sparking a documents stoush between the two companies.

Pfizer was ordered to hand over documents to MSD in August detailing when it had become aware of the new information. Pfizer launched an appeal against the decision but was again shot down. 

Both MSD and Pfizer have been given until the end of this month to file and serve their amended statements. 

It is the first of two Federal Court cases between the two pharma companies over their pneumococcal vaccines businesses.

In a separate case, MSD is alleging an Australian patent granted to a Pfizer pneumococcal vaccine currently in development was based on documents stolen by an ex-MSD staff member on their 15-valent vaccine candidate.  

Yajun Ma

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