PUBPAT TAKES ON KEY HIV/AIDS DRUG PATENTS: Non-Profit Submits Prior Art to U.S. Patent Office and Asks For Revocation of Four Gilead Sciences PatentsNew York, NY -- March 26, 2007 -- The Public Patent Foundation (PUBPAT) announced today that it has filed formal requests with the United States Patent and Trademark Office challenging four key HIV/AIDS drug patents held by Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD). As part of its requests, PUBPAT submitted prior art that the Patent Office did not review before granting the patents to the Foster City, California, biopharmaceutical giant. PUBPAT also explained how the submitted prior art invalidates the patents and asked that the Patent Office initiate a process to revoke them.
Roughly 40 million people worldwide are infected with HIV/AIDS, including more than 1.2 million Americans. The patents challenged by PUBPAT, U.S. Patents Nos. 5,922,695, 5,935,946, 5,977,089 and 6,043,230, relate to the drug known generically as tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF), a key weapon in the battle against HIV/AIDS. Gilead markets TDF in the United States under the brand name Viread and as a part of its Atripla combination product.
"Every person afflicted with HIV/AIDS has the right to obtain the best medical treatment available, without any improper obstacles placed in their way," said the Requests for Reexamination submitted by PUBPAT. "More specifically, American men, women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS are entitled to access the best pharmaceutical treatments available without undeserved patents making those treatments either too expensive or too limited in supply."
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will not allow anyone other than Gilead distribute TDF in the United States because Gilead claims the four challenged patents give them the exclusive right to do so. Gilead has applied for similar patents on TDF in other countries throughout the world, including India, where they have received fierce opposition by non-profit AIDS patient groups.
"Gilead is using the four patents our requests show are invalid to prevent anyone else from offering TDF to HIV/AIDS patients in the United States," said Dan Ravicher, PUBPAT's Executive Director. "Since the patents are undeserved, they are unjustified barriers preventing American HIV/AIDS patients from getting the medical treatment that they need and deserve."
The Requests for Reexamination filed by PUBPAT against the Gilead Sciences TDF patents can be found at PUBPAT > Gilead Sciences HIV/AIDS Drug Patents.