NEW YORK, Feb. 16 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Pfizer said today the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C. has affirmed the trial court decision invalidating a patent held by the University of Rochester directed to the use of COX-2 inhibitors to treat inflammation.
The University had filed suit against Pfizer and Pharmacia in April 2000 alleging that sales of Celebrex infringed this patent. The trial court held the patent invalid for failing to comply with the disclosure requirements of the patent laws and held that the University had not invented or disclosed any COX-2 inhibitors that could be used to treat patients.
"We are very pleased that our position with respect to this patent has been confirmed on appeal," said Jeffrey Kindler, general counsel of Pfizer. "Celebrex was invented and patented by G.D. Searle, which was subsequently acquired by Pfizer. While Pfizer recognizes the valuable contributions made by academic research into diseases and potential new treatments, this decision makes clear that, in this case, the University played no role in the development of Celebrex."
Mr. Kindler continued, "It is important for the public to understand that the vast majority of innovative medicines are in fact developed by private, research-based companies such as Searle and Pfizer. The discovery and development of Celebrex demonstrates the important role of research-based pharmaceutical companies in bringing new medicines to patients." After considerable time and effort throughout the early 1990s, Searle invented celecoxcib, developed it into a clinical product and submitted it to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Searle invested hundreds of millions of dollars in research and development costs related to this new discovery. All of Searle's research efforts were wholly separate and independent from the university.
"Celebrex is an invention that is benefiting millions of patients around the world," Mr. Kindler said. "The fact that the important medical benefits of Celebrex are available to these patients is due to the hard work, ingenuity and diligence of the company's research and development efforts.
"It is essential that companies that engage in the high-risk, long-term and expensive pharmaceutical research so important to improving patients' health can ensure that their inventions are sufficiently protected to ensure a fair return."
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