AstraZeneca Pays $510M to BMS to Settle PD-L1, CTLA-4 Patent Disputes

Pictured: Gavel with cash bills/Courtesy iStock, a

Pictured: Gavel with cash bills/Courtesy iStock, a

The settlement agreement between the companies follows three patent-infringement lawsuits filed by Bristol-Myers Squibb over the blockbuster cancer immunotherapies.

Pictured: Gavel with cash bills/Courtesy iStock, alfexe

AstraZeneca has agreed to pay rival Bristol-Myers Squibb $510 million to resolve a string of patent-infringement lawsuits filed by BMS over blockbuster cancer immunotherapies, according to multiple media outlets.

BMS had complained in three separate lawsuits that the AstraZeneca drugs, Imfinzi and Imjudo, infringed patents on its own therapies, Opdivo and Yervoy, and wanted compensation for lost earnings.

Opdivo and Imfinzi are both PD-1 inhibitors and have generated billions of dollars in sales as cancer treatments for their respective companies. Yervoy and Imjudo are anti-CTLA-4 antibodies.

Yervoy was first approved by the FDA in 2011 to treat melanoma, and has since been approved for kidney, lung, colorectal and other types of cancer. BMS sold over $2 billion worth of the drug in 2021, according to the company. Imjudo in combination with Imfinzi was approved for liver cancer in October last year.

Monday, Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware approved the two companies’ joint stipulations to dismiss the three lawsuits—a swift resolution to the dispute that analysts say saves both companies time and legal costs.

BMS originally sued AstraZeneca over eight Opdivo patents in March 2022 and added another claim in April of that year. It filed the third lawsuit, focused on Yervoy and Imjudo, in January 2023. The District of Delaware had issued a scheduling order, setting a trial for April 2024.

However, in its second-quarter earnings report released on Friday, AstraZeneca said it entered into a global settlement agreement with BMS and Ono Pharmaceutical “that resolves all patent disputes relating to Imfinzi and Imjudo between the companies” totaling $510 million.

This is not the first success for BMS and its partner Ono Pharmaceutical as they seek to protect their patents. In 2017, the two firms accepted $625 million from Merck to settle another PD-1 patent lawsuit.

David Adam is a freelance science journalist based in the UK. Reach him at