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Nanocrystalline Pharmaceutical Patent Litigation: The First Case
Volume 5, Issue 2

WIlliam F. Prendergast, Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione
Heather N. Schafer, Brinks, Hofer, Gilson & Lione

Nanotechnology promises to have a major impact on health care. Indeed, one of the first major product success stories to come out of this emerging field is a nanoparticle-based drug for cancer therapy. Abraxane, manufactured by Abraxis, uses albumin nanoparticles to enhance the effectiveness and reduce the side effects of paclitaxel, a chemotherapy drug used for treating breast cancer. In July 2006, Elan Pharmaceuticals filed a complaint alleging that the Abraxane infringes two of Elan’s patents regarding nanoparticle formulation technology. After two years of discovery battles, the dispute has finally gone before a jury, which rendered a verdict in favor of Elan for $55.2 million. In this article, IP lawyers William Prendergast and Heather Schafer provide a background of the dispute, summarize the case, and draw conclusions regarding its implications for nanotechnology patent litigation.

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