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Merck suit against The Johns Hopkins University’s for breach of contract regarding Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) patents

Nov 29, 2022

Merck has filed a complaint in the United States District Court (District of Maryland) against The Johns Hopkins University in relation to certain patents of the university relating to Keytruda® (pembrolizumab).  Based on the wording of the complaint, the dispute arose out of a contract between Merck and the university to design and conduct a clinical trial on administration regimes for Keytruda® in cancer patients with certain genetic biomarkers.  The complaint alleges that the university was issued four US patents in 2021 and 2022 that cite the joint study but that the university claimed the inventions arose prior to the study, and that it exclusively licensed the patents to others, demanding payment from Merck for use of Keytruda®.  Merck is seeking from the court a declaration that the university breached the contract for the clinical trial, damages for breach of contract and declarations that Merck’s manufacture, use, sale offer for sale and/importation of Keytruda® do not infringe any of the patents in question.