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Genentech sues Biogen & Millennium for breach of Cabilly licence

Feb 28, 2023

Genentech has filed separate complaints against Biogen (in the US District Court Northern District of California) and Millennium (in the Superior Court of State of California) alleging breach of their respective licences to the Cabilly patents.  The Cabilly patents related to methods of manufacturing antibodies, and was one of the most widely licensed patent families in the biotechnology industry.  The last of the US pre-GATT filed “submarine” patents counterparts expired on 18 December 2018. 

The Complaint against Millennium (23-CIV-00924) alleges that Millennium’s Entyvio® (vedolizumab) product was manufactured in accordance with the Cabilly patents and royalties were paid to Genentech until the Cabilly patent expired.  Genentech argue that Millennium’s stockpile of Entyvio® which was manufactured before the Cabilly patents expired, but would be sold after 18 December 2018, constituted a “licenced product” and royalties are owed based on the sales of those products.  

The Complaint against Biogen (3:23-cv-909) is similar, but pertains to Biogen’s Tysabri® (natalizumab) product.  Genentech allege that Biogen also owe royalties based on sales of Tysabri® that were manufactured before the Cabilly patents expired but sold after.   

Genentech is unaware of the size of Millennium and Biogen’s respective stockpiles, but claims that they each owe Genentech “tens of millions of dollars in unpaid royalties”.