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8 September 2015Asia

Indian Patent Office rejects Pfizer’s arthritis patent, again

Pfizer has had a patent application for tofacitinib, which is marketed as Xeljanz and Jakvinus, rejected by the Indian Patent Office (IPO) for the second time.

On Thursday, September 3, the IPO said the application is not patent eligible. It covers a chemical formulation of the active compound in rheumatoid arthritis drug tofacitinib.

The Indian patent directed to the base compound remains valid.

In 2011, after the IPO rejected Pfizer’s application the company appealed to the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB), which gave the pharmaceutical company hope that the patent would be granted following an October decision.

The IPAB asked the IPO to review its decision after arguing that it was incorrect. The board requested a new examiner to assess the application.

But last week the IPO rejected Pfizer’s application again under section 3(d) of India’s Patents Act.

Under section 3(d), an application is not valid if it covers “the mere discovery of a new form of a known substance which does not result in the enhancement of the known efficacy of that substance”.

A spokesperson for Pfizer told LSIPR: “Pfizer’s base patent for tofacitinib remains valid in India. Following the decision from the IPAB, we are reviewing our options for further action.

“Pfizer remains committed to innovation and the long term viability of its research and development programmes for the benefit of patients and healthcare practitioners in India and across the world,” the spokesperson added.

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