Biopharmaceutical company UCB Biopharma (Union Chimique Belge is a multinational biopharmaceutical company headquartered in Brussels, Belgium) has filed a complaint against biotech developer MedImmune (MedImmune, LLC, headquartered in Gaithersburg, Maryland, became a wholly owned subsidiary of AstraZeneca in 2007) for alleged patent infringement.

The case, which was filed in the US District Court for the District of Delaware on Monday, December 12, centred on MedImmune’s Synagis (palivizumab), a therapy used to help prevent lung disease.

UCB owns the patent involved, US number 7,566,771, titled “Humanised antibodies”. It was issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office in July 2009. The ‘771 patent was granted to Celltech R&D, but UCB is now the owner.

According to the suit, This is a civil action for patent infringement under the patent laws of the

United States, Title 35 of the United States Code, arising from MedImmune’s infringement of

United States Patent No. 7,566,771 (the “’771 patent”) by its manufacture, use, sale, and/or offerfor sale of, inter alia, Synagis®.

On or around January 19, 1998, Celltech Therapeutics Limited (“Celltech Therapeutics”), a predecessor in interest of Celltech R&D Limited, entered into a licensing agreement with MedImmune, Inc., a predecessor in interest of Defendant MedImmune (the “License”). Under the License, Celltech Therapeutics granted MedImmune, Inc., a non-exclusive license to certain patents concerning humanized antibody technology including, inter alia, all patents issuing from divisions and/or continuations of United States Application No. 08/303,569 (the “’569 application”). The ’771 patent issued from United States Application No. 08/485,686, a continuation of the ’569 application.

As consideration for the license, MedImmune, Inc., agreed to pay Celltech Therapeutics certain royalties based on sales of products that fell within the scope of any licensed patent.On or around June 24, 2005, Celltech R&D Limited (a successor in interest of Celltech Therapeutics) and MedImmune, Inc., amended the License. The modification did not affect the scope of the License as it pertained to the ’771 patent. MedImmune, Inc., thereafter paid royalties to Celltech R&D Limited for its manufacture and sales of Synagis®.

On or around December 22, 2010, MedImmune, Inc., sent notice to Celltech R&D Limited disclosing its intention to terminate the License. MedImmune, Inc., then discontinued royalty payments as of January 22, 2011, thirty (30) days after the termination notice. Thus, as of January 23, 2011, Defendant MedImmune and/or its predecessors in interest were no longer licensed under the ’771 patent.

 Reason For Patent Infringement

MedImmune’s commercial manufacture, use, offer to sell, or sale of palivizumab within the United States, or importation of palivizumab into the United States, during the term of the ’771 patent, infringes, contributes to the infringement of, and/or induces the infringement of the ’771 patent under 35 U.S.C. §§ 271(a), (b), and/or (c). MedImmune infringes or aids in the infringement of at least claim 1 of the ’771 patent.

Upon information and belief, MedImmune has acted with full knowledge of the ’771 patent and its claims without a reasonable basis for believing that it would not be liable for infringement of the ’771 patent. Notwithstanding this knowledge, MedImmune has infringed the ’771 patent since at least January 23, 2011, and continues to infringe the ’771 patent through its commercial manufacture, use, offer to sell, sale, and/or importation of palivizumab.

 Relief demanded

Due to MedImmune’s knowledgeable and willful infringement, UCB is entitled to treble damages under 35 U.S.C. § 284.

UCB is entitled to a finding that this case is exceptional and to an award of attorney’s fees under 35 U.S.C. §285 (So, UCB has asked for triple damages).