Merck, Pfizer’s Wyeth Settle Vaccine Patent Case

Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp and Pfizer’s Wyeth subsidiary have resolved a patent dispute over their competing vaccines for preventing diseases including pneumonia and meningitis, according to a Delaware court filing.

The parties asked US District Judge Richard Andrews on Tuesday, September 21, to dismiss the claims with prejudice. Pfizer spokesperson Pam Eisele wrote in an email on Wednesday that the companies had resolved their worldwide dispute over the vaccine patents. Details of the settlement weren’t immediately available.

Kenilworth, New Jersey-based Merck had requested a declaratory judgment from the court in January that its Vaxneuvance vaccine for diseases caused by pneumococcus bacteria, which the US Food and Drug Administration approved in July, didn’t infringe three patents related to Wyeth’s Prevnar vaccines. Merck’s complaint stated it and New York-based Wyeth had been embroiled in patent proceedings related to the vaccines for over four years in several countries including Australia, Canada, Japan, and the UK.

Merck and its attorneys Anthony Insogna of Jones Day and John Day of Ashby & Geddes didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. Merck attorney Arlene Chow of Latham & Watkins declined to comment.

Wyeth’s attorneys Dimitrios Drivas of White & Case and Arthur Connolly of Connolly Gallagher didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Merck said in its complaint that it was suing to “clear the way” to deliver its vaccine in the US by “lifting the threat of an imminent lawsuit by Wyeth.” Wyeth later countersued Merck for allegedly infringing the Prevnar patents.

The complaint stated Merck’s vaccine was the first “real alternative” to Wyeth’s Prevnar conjugate pneumonia vaccines in the US Conjugate vaccines create a stronger immune response than earlier vaccines.

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