BTG Int'l Ltd. v. Amneal Pharm. LLC

Decision Date31 October 2018
Docket Number Civ. No. 17-cv-6435 (KM)(JBC),Civ. No. 15-cv-5909 (KM)(JBC), Civ. No. 16-cv-2449 (KM)(JBC)
Citation352 F.Supp.3d 352
Parties BTG INTERNATIONAL LIMITED, et al., Plaintiffs, v. AMNEAL PHARMACEUTICALS LLC, et al., Defendants. BTG International Limited, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Amerigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., and Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd., Defendants. BTG International Limited, et al., Plaintiffs, v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc., Defendant.
CourtU.S. District Court — District of New Jersey

Donald A. Robinson, Justin Taylor Quinn, Keith J. Miller, Michael James Gesualdo, Robinson Miller LLC, Newark, NJ, Jesselyn Clair, PE, Sidley Austin LLP, New York, NY, for Plaintiffs.

James S. Richter, Winston & Strawn, LLP, New York, NY, Melissa Steedle Bogad, Merus US, Inc., Cambridge, MA, Ryan Patrick Blaney, Cozen O'Connor, Washington, DC, Arnold B. Calmann, Jeffrey S. Soos, Katherine Ann Escanlar, Saiber LLC, Sheila Raftery Wiggins, Duane Morris LLP, Michael E. Patunas, Patunas Law LLC, Newark, NJ, Jason B. Lattimore, Law Office of Jason B. Lattimore, Esq., Morristown, NJ, Christina Lynn Saveriano, Hill Wallack, LLP, Princeton, NJ, for Defendants.


KEVIN MCNULTY, United States District Judge

These are consolidated Hatch-Waxman actions for infringement of United States Patent No. 8,822,438 ("the '438 patent") brought by Janssen Biotech, Inc.; Janssen Oncology, Inc.; Janssen Research & Development, LLC (collectively, "Janssen"); and BTG International Ltd. ("BTG"). Janssen and BTG co-own the '438 patent. The '438 patent contains twenty claims covering methods for the treatment of prostate cancer by administering various dosages of abiraterone acetate and prednisone in combination. Patent exclusivity for these medications individually is not at issue.

The defendants are Amerigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd. (collectively, "Amerigen"); Amneal Pharmaceuticals LLC; Amneal Pharmaceuticals of New York, LLC (collectively, "Amneal"); Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Inc.; Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, Ltd. (collectively "DRL"); Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc.; Mylan, Inc. (collectively, "Mylan"); Teva Pharmaceuticals USA, Inc. ("Teva"); West-Ward Pharmaceutical Corporation, and Hikma Pharmaceuticals, LLC ("West-Ward/Hikman"); Wockhardt Bio AG; Wockhardt USA LLC; and Wockhardt Ltd. (collectively, "Wockhardt"). The defendants are generic drug companies who seek to engage in the commercial manufacture, use, offer for sale, or sale of a generic version of the plaintiffs' branded drug, ZYTIGA®.

Plaintiffs allege infringement of claims 4, 8, 11, 19 and 20, all of which rely on claim 1 of the '438 patent, based on the defendants' filing of Abbreviated New Drug Applications ("ANDAs"). If defendants' ANDAs are approved, defendants will allegedly induce infringement of the asserted claims of the '438 patent under 35 U.S.C. § 271(b) and contribute to infringement of the asserted claims under 35 U.S.C. § 271(c). Defendants deny infringement and claim that the patent claims are invalid for obviousness and for lack of a written description.

On November 3, 2017, defendants moved for summary judgment as to the induced and contributory infringement claims. (DE 364). The Court held a hearing on that motion on February 9, 2018. Because it appeared that there were issues of fact to be tried in any event, and that the issues on summary judgment would subsumed in those to be tried, the motion was terminated without prejudice to reassertion of all contentions therein following trial. (DE 483).

Meanwhile, on January 17, 2018, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB"), in three inter partes proceedings, found the patent invalid. A motion for reconsideration remains pending.

The Court conducted a bench trial beginning on July 23, 2018 and concluding on August 2, 2018. The parties have submitted post-trial briefing, as well as proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law.

This Consolidated Opinion constitutes the Court's findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 52(a). The findings of fact are based on the Court's observations and credibility determinations of the witnesses who testified at trial and a thorough review of all the evidence.

Essentially, I rule as follows: Like the PTAB, I find that the '438 patent is invalid for obviousness. I find the patent's written description to be adequate, however. In the alternative, and to facilitate appellate review, I have ruled on the infringement issues that were tried. Assuming that the '438 patent is valid, I find based on the proposed generic labels that the ANDA defendants' marketing of abiraterone would infringe, on either an induced infringement or contributory infringement theory.

A. Procedural Background

1. On July 31, 2015, plaintiffs filed a complaint for infringement of the '438 patent based on defendants' ANDA filings, which sought approval to market generic abiraterone acetate2 250 mg tablets. (Civil Action No. 15-5909, DE 1). Plaintiffs filed suit against the following ANDA defendants:

a. Actavis Laboratories FL, Inc., Actavis Pharma, Inc., and Actavis, Inc. ("Actavis"), related to ANDA No. 208274;3
b. Amneal related to ANDA No. 208327;
c. Apotex Corp. and Apotex Inc. ("Apotex") related to ANDA No. 208453;
d. Citron Pharma LLC ("Citron") related to ANDA No. 208371;4
e. DRL related to ANDA No. 208416;
f. Mylan related to ANDA No. 208446;
g. Par Pharmaceutical, Inc. and Par Pharmaceutical Companies, Inc. ("Par") related to ANDA No. 208168;
h. Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd. and Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries, Inc. ("Sun") related to ANDA No. 208440;
i. Teva and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited related to ANDA No. 208432;
j. West-Ward/Hikma, The Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Co. and Hikma Pharmaceuticals, PLC, related to ANDA No. 208339; and
k. Wockhardt related to ANDA No. 208380. (DE 1).

(DE 1).

2. The complaint was dismissed against certain defendants without prejudice, after they all agreed to be bound by any judgment rendered in the 15-5909 action. Those dismissed defendants are Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Limited; Arab Pharmaceutical Manufacturing Co.; Hikma Pharmaceuticals, PLC; Actavis Pharma, Inc.; Actavis, Inc.; Par; and Citron. (DE 41, 44, 46, 103, 117).

3. On April 20, 2018, plaintiffs and Apotex entered into a license agreement for the '438 patent, and Apotex was dismissed from the action. (DE 467).

4. On September 28, 2015, plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint against Hetero USA Inc., Hetero Labs Limited Unit-V, and Hetero Labs Limited, asserting infringement of the '438 patent related to Hetero's filing of ANDA No. 208349, which sought approval to market generic abiraterone acetate 250 mg tablets. Hetero subsequently withdrew its ANDA, and on March 13, 2017, the Court entered a stipulation dismissing without prejudice plaintiffs' complaint against Hetero. (DE 308).

5. On May 2, 2016, plaintiffs filed a separate action against Amerigen, asserting infringement of the '438 patent related to Amerigen's filing of ANDA No. 208027, which also sought approval to market generic abiraterone acetate 250 mg tablets. (Civ. No. 16-02449, DE 1). This action was consolidated with the 15-5909 action on July 29, 2016 for discovery purposes. (Civ. No. 16-2449, DE 16).

6. On August 25, 2017, plaintiffs filed a separate complaint against Teva and Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd., asserting infringement of the '438 patent related to Teva's filing of ANDA No. 210726 for approval to market generic abiraterone acetate 500 mg tablets. (Civ. No. 17-6435, DE 1). Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries, Ltd. was dismissed from this action after it agreed to be bound by any judgment. (Civ. No. 17-6435, DE 10).

7. On January 8, 2018, the 17-6435 action was consolidated with the 15-5909 action for all purposes, including trial, pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 42(a). (Civ. No. 15-5909. DE 381). Teva's ANDA No. 208432 (at issue in the Civ. No. 15-5909 action) is substantively identical to Teva's ANDA No. 210726 (at issue in the Civ. No. 17-6435 action).

B. Metastatic Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer

8. The invention claimed in the '438 patent treats metastatic castration-resistant prostate cancer ("mCRPC") through a combination of abiraterone and prednisone. (JTX 8000).

9. The prostate is a male genitourinary organ located in the pelvis. (3T530:24-25). Prostate cancer arises when there is an uncontrollable proliferation of prostate tissue. (3T531:2-4). Metastatic prostate cancer occurs when the cancer tumor spreads from the prostate to another organ, such as the bones, liver, or lungs. (3T531:6-8).

10. Male sex hormones, called androgens, promote the growth of prostate cancer cells. (3T531:10, -22 to -24). A first-line treatment for metastatic prostate cancer is androgen deprivation therapy ("ADT"). (1T100:22-25; 3T532:19-20). Starting in the 1940s, the main treatment for prostate cancer was ADT. (1T115:23-116:1). ADT deprives cancer cells of androgens, like testosterone, through either medical or surgical castration. (1T100:24-101:3; 3T532:19-25).

11. ADT is not a cure for prostate cancer ; in most patients, ADT eventually loses effectiveness and the cancer may resume growing. (3T533:13-25). At that point the cancer is deemed castration-resistant, as that term is used in mCRPC.

12. Abiraterone, discovered in the early 1990s, is a second-line therapy. (9T1970:24). Abiraterone inhibits the 17a-hydroxylase/C17,20-lyase ("CYP17") enzyme. The CYP17 enzyme has a role in the steroid biosynthesis pathway that leads to the production of androgens, including testosterone. (1T123:13-18; 7T1434:4-21; 6T1152:5-9, 1280:1-1281:1; see PDX7.5, chart of steroid biosynthesis pathway and abiraterone inhibition, attached as an exhibit to this opinion.)

13. Dr. Johann de Bono, an oncologist and coinventor on the '438 patent, hypothesized that, while abiraterone decreased the production of androgens, it also resulted in an accumulation...

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