Akin Gump Notches Multimillion-Dollar Settlement in Complex Biologics Patent Litigation

(Philadelphia) – Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (BMY) and Ono Pharmaceutical Company, Ltd. announced they have signed a global patent license agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. to settle all patent-infringement litigation related to Merck’s PD-1 antibody Keytruda (pembrolizumab). Akin Gump advised the two companies, as well as Dr. Tasaku Honjo, in the matter, which will result in the dismissal with prejudice of all patent litigation between the companies pertaining to Keytruda.

BMY and Ono, which discovered and developed the PD-1 antibody Opdivo (nivolumab), had asserted in litigation that Merck’s sale of Keytruda infringed the companies’ patents relating to the use of PD-1 antibodies to treat cancer in the United States, Europe (United Kingdom, Netherlands, France, Germany, Ireland, Spain and Switzerland), Australia, and Japan.

As part of the agreement, Merck will make an initial payment of $625 million to Bristol-Myers Squibb and Ono. Merck is also obligated to pay ongoing royalties on global sales of Keytruda of 6.5 percent from January 1, 2017, through December 31, 2023, and 2.5 percent from January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2026.

The Akin Gump team handling the litigation included intellectual property partners Dianne Elderkin, Steven Maslowski and Matthew Pearson; senior counsel Angela Verrecchio; counsel Melissa Gibson, Jenna Pellecchia, Rachel Elsby and Jason Weil; and associate Andrew Schwerin.

Founded in 1945, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is a leading international law firm with more than 900 lawyers in offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East.

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