Eli Lilly readies critical Alimta patent defense

|About: Eli Lilly and Company (LLY)|By:, SA News Editor

It's a big week for pharmaceutical heavyweight Eli Lilly (LLY), as the company seeks to protect a patent on its blockbuster lung cancer treatment Alimta which accounted for around 11% of total revenue in 2012.

At issue is a patent covering the administration of Alimta in conjunction with folic acid and vitamin B12, an innovation the company claims may have saved the drug after a "string of drug-related deaths" imperiled its regulatory future.

Teva (TEVA) and others claim the addition of the vitamins was no innovation at all and that " a person of ordinary skill in oncology" would have concluded that the drug should be administered with the vitamin regime. As WSJ notes, "a court can deem a patent invalid if its claims are 'obvious' and anticipated by previous research."

The difference in a LLY win or loss is five additional years of patent exclusivity.

In the MRQ, Alimta brought in $669M in revenue.