Chiron Corporation has announced that the European Patent Office Technical Board of Appeals upheld the validity of Chiron’s European HCV Patent No. 0 318 216 in amended form.
The final ‘216 patent contains broad claims that cover nucleic acid testing (NAT) for hepatitis C virus (HCV) detection and the manufacture, use or sale of such tests, including PCR kits.
The EPO decision is final and unappealable.
Claims in the ‘216 patent relating to antigens and polypeptides for use in HCV-related immunoassays, which are covered by other Chiron patents across Europe, were withdrawn during the course of the proceedings.
Chiron’s HCV-based predicted revenue stream from immunodiagnostics, nucleic acid testing, vaccines and drug discovery royalties will remain unchanged, and the company’s strategic position with regard to NAT is strengthened by the final patent.
“The EPO issuance of a final decision strengthens Chiron’s HCV intellectual property portfolio,” commented Robert Blackburn, Chiron vice president and chief patent counsel.
“The patent leaves us in a strong position with regard to our blood testing and clinical diagnostics business strategies.
Our effort to save lives and prevent HCV begins with our technology licensing program, which will continue.”The Technical Board’s finding brings an end to challenges against the ‘216 patent, first initiated in 1993 in the EPO’s Opposition Division by F. Hoffman-La Roche AG and others.
Only Roche had appealed the Opposition Division’s earlier decision to uphold Chiron’s patent.
The withdrawal of immunoassay claims from the ‘216 patent may delay certain litigation in Europe related to immunoassay products until Chiron amends or re-files such litigation based on other HCV patents.
Chiron Corporation, headquartered in Emeryville, California, is a leading biotechnology company that participates in three global healthcare markets: biopharmaceuticals, vaccines, and blood testing.
The company is applying a broad and integrated scientific approach to the development of innovative products for preventing and treating cancer, infection and cardiovascular disease.