marianvejcik /
26 March 2018Europe

Premaitha Health suffers blow at English High Court

The English High Court has rejected molecular diagnostics company Premaitha Health’s attempt to stop a patent infringement claim.

Premaitha had asked for the case, which was brought by genetic sequencing company Illumina, to be struck out in its entirety as an “abuse of process”.

The hearing took place on March 16, and the decision was made public on Friday, March 23.

Back in September 2017, Illumina had claimed that Premaitha’s Iona test infringed European patent 1,524,321 B2, called “Non-invasive detection of foetal genetic traits”. The patent is licensed to Illumina from Sequenom, a genetic testing company.

Premaitha’s Iona test is a non-invasive prenatal test that estimates the risk of a foetus having Down’s syndrome and other genetic conditions.

According to Premaitha, Illumina and Sequenom’s case should have been brought at an earlier stage.

While Mr Justice Henry Carr noted that Illumina and Sequenom should have known in 2015 whether they had a cause of action against the Iona test in respect of the ‘321 patent, there was no evidence that they did know or had deliberately delayed bringing the new claim.

At a final order hearing on the same day, the judge awarded costs of approximately £50,000 ($57,100) against Premaitha.

The claim is expected to come to trial in early 2019.

Dr Stephen Little, CEO of Premaitha, said: “We made this application in an attempt to minimise any UK business disruption from the new UK claim. We are disappointed the judge did not agree with our arguments and those of the other parties as to why we feel the claim is an abuse of process, but we remain firmly of the view that the claim itself can be defended effectively.”

In November 2017, the High Court found that Premaitha’s Iona test breaches Illumina’s European patent numbers 0,994,963 B2; 1,981,995 B1; 2,183,693 B1; 2,385,143 B1; and 2,514,842 B1.

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