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GSK sues US rival Gilead Sciences for alleged HIV drug patent infringement

GSK’s one pill, once daily treatment was approved back in November, while Gilead’s drug got the green light from the US FDA on Wednesday
hiv treatment
New GSK boss Emma Walmsley considers the firm’s HIV drug to be “critical” to its future

UK drugs giant GlaxoSmithKline plc (LON:GSK) is suing its US rival Gilead Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:GILD) as it looks to tighten its grip on the US$22bn HIV treatment market.

In November, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  approved GSK’s two drug, one pill treatment called Juluca , which analysts estimate could generate billions in sales over the coming years.

Juluca “critical” to GSK’s future​​

That put the FTSE 100 firm a step ahead of its competition, but on Wednesday Gilead also received FDA approval for its own once-daily, one pill treatment.

GSK said it is taking Gilead to court, where it will look to prove that the latter’s drug infringes ViiV Healthcare’s – GSK’s majority-owned HIV subsidiary – patent covering dolutegravir, a key chemical used in Joluca.

ViiV will “seek financial redress” for the alleged patent infringement, GSK added, although it would likely prefer the courts to stop Gilead from making and selling its drug altogether.

Glaxo’s new boss Emma Walmsley will be desperate to protect one of her key earners, which she has said in the past is one of three drugs “critical” in helping to fill a revenue gap left by declining sales of its blockbuster Advair inhaler.

New way of treating HIV​

GSK and Gilead have been working on developing simpler treatments to keep HIV under control.

Before the two firms’ drugs were approved, sufferers generally had to take a cocktail of three or four pills.

The industry as a whole has been looking for simpler ways to control the virus, with the hopes that fewer drugs will lead to fewer side effects.

GSK shares rose 1.3% to £13.02.

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GlaxoSmithKline plc Timeline

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