Enanta sues Pfizer over COVID drug patent infringement

June 22, 2022

Enanta Pharmaceuticals is suing Pfizer, claiming a recently approved patent was infringed, and that its technology was used to develop Pfizer's antiviral, Paxlovid.

In July of 2020, the small Massachusetts-based biotech filed a utility patent application for its “peptides as antiviral agents,” which outlined a compound represented by a formula for the technology behind its protease inhibitor COVID drug.

When the application was approved earlier this week, Enanta moved to file a suit in the U.S. district court in Massachusetts, alleging that Pfizer knew about the patent since June of 2022 and that the pharma giant “knew or should have known that its making, importing, using, offering for sale, and selling Paxlovid constituted an unjustifiably high risk of infringement of the ’953 Patent.”

Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 treatment, which was given an emergency use authorization by the FDA last Dec., works by disrupting the replication of the SARS-CoV-2 virus by binding to and inhibiting the 3CL protease, which is crucial for viral proliferation. The drug was a combination of Pfizer’s investigational antiviral PF-07321332 and a low dose of ritonavir, used to treat HIV.

In the suit, Enanta outlined and compared the structural formula of its patented peptide-antiviral agent to Pfizer’s Paxlovid and highlighted the similarities. Now, Enanta is seeking financial compensation as “deemed appropriate by the court.”