Genentech goes after Biogen for MS drug royalties

March 2, 2023

Genentech, a Roche company, is suing Massachusetts-based biotech Biogen, claiming that it's still owed patent royalties from its blockbuster autoimmune disease drug, Tysabri.

In the recent lawsuit, filed this week in a San Francisco federal court, Genentech is claiming that Biogen still owes royalties for the drug sales that were made using Genentech's patents before they expired. 

Tysabri was first approved in November 2004 to treat multiple sclerosis.

According to the suit, back in 2004, Biogen signed a license to Genentech's patents that included manufacturing methods for antibodies like the drug for a “mid-single-figure,” royalty amount to be paid for sales of products sold. Genentech’s patent expired in December 2018 and Biogen made its last royalty payment in March 2019.

Genentech claims that, due to the complexity of antibody manufacturing, most drugmakers save up “at least several calendar quarters worth of [antibody drug] product, and often more than that,” which means that the drug product sold in 2019 was made before patented technology expired.