- A federal judge has ruled Takeda's patent on Velcade (bortezomib) invalid.
- Velcade's patent was challenged by Actavis (part of Allergan), Sandoz (part of Novartis), and Accord Healthcare.
- Takeda expected to have patent protection until 2022, but based on the latest court decision, generics could hit the market by 2017.
Velcade, which is used to treat multiple myeloma and relapsed mantle cell lymphoma, is a big seller for Takeda, bringing in almost $2.9 billion in revenues in 2014. This is clearly no small matter for Takeda and Johnson & Johnson (which markets Velcade outside of the U.S.).
However, Takeda's CEO, Christophe Weber, is setting his sights on gaining regulatory approvals in the U.S. and the E.U. for Takeda's investigational drug, ixazomib, which is also intended to treat blood-marrow cancer.
While there is a huge challenge confronting Takeda/J&J at the present moment, the future of ixazomib looks promising. Why? In addition to positive data, ixazomib is an oral treatment, compared with Velcade, which is an injectable. Nonetheless, the company will have to scramble to get as much revenue from Velcade as possible before patent expiration.