A California judge ruled last month that pharma company Medivation does not have rights to an anti-cancer drug developed at the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) after the company licensed an earlier version of the drug in 2005.
Medivation believed their agreement with UCLA gave them rights to any follow-on compounds to Enzalutamide, a treatment for advanced prostate cancer developed by university researchers Dr. Charles Sawyers and Dr. Michael Jung. However, UCLA later licensed a second series of similar compounds to Aragon Pharmaceuticals Inc.
In the lawsuit, Medivation claimed that one of those compounds, now known as ARN-509, was exclusively theirs to develop under the agreement with UCLA. But State Supreme Court Judge John E. Munter declared UCLA had properly licensed the compound to Aragon, and that the original agreement with Medivation only gave the company rights to Enzalutamide as it was licensed in 2005.
“We are pleased with the recent court decision affirming UCLA’s practices that ensure that the university’s world-class biomedical research is quickly brought to market for the benefit of patients,” says Brendan Rauw, UCLA’s associate vice chancellor for research and executive director of entrepreneurship at the school’s tech transfer office.
The case rested on some obscure yet crucial details within the agreement between UCLA and Medivation. Had Medivation paid closer attention at the beginning, it might have avoided the trouble altogether.
For example, although the contract required the university to disclose follow-on inventions while the collaboration was underway, ARN-509 had already been conceived in a university lab prior to the agreement, albeit in an early form that Medivation may not have considered legitimate. Still, the court found that ARN-509 qualified as pre-existing invention under the specific terms of the agreement.
Source: Biotech Strategy Blog