Iceberg Image Closes Pacira Drug Patent Infringement Trial

Iceberg Image Closes Pacira Drug Patent Infringement Trial


Abstract Below the Iceberg: Closing Arguments in Pacira’s Patent Infringement Trial

In a New Jersey federal courtroom, a gripping trial concluded with a striking visual metaphor—an iceberg—used to encapsulate the ongoing patent infringement dispute between Pacira Biosciences Inc. and eVenus Pharmaceutical Laboratories Inc. The case centers on accusations from Pacira that eVenus infringed on its patent for Exparel, a nonopioid painkiller, by seeking FDA approval for a generic version before the patent’s expiration.

Iceberg Image Closes Pacira Drug Patent Infringement Trial: The Tip of the Iceberg

During the bench trial’s closing arguments, eVenus’s attorney presented an iceberg illustration to Judge Madeline Cox Arleo, emphasizing that the data disclosed in Pacira’s patent application was merely the “tip of the iceberg.” Daryl L. Wiesen of Goodwin Procter LLP argued that substantial data was withheld from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, which, if disclosed, would have likely led to a rejection of the patent application.

Pacira’s Defense and Claims

Conversely, Pacira maintained a firm stance on the legitimacy of its patent and the infringement by eVenus. Represented by Corrin N. Drakulich of Fish & Richardson PC, Pacira argued that the case of infringement was unequivocal. The discussion extended over several hours, with both parties using extensive data from PowerPoint presentations to underscore their points, focusing particularly on the drug’s shelf life and stability enhancements achieved through improved manufacturing processes.

Implications for Exparel’s Production and Market Presence

The importance of Exparel to Pacira’s portfolio was highlighted by the substantial investment in a new manufacturing process, which significantly increased production capacity. Originally approved by the FDA in 2011 and introduced to the market in 2012, Exparel’s unique single-dose administration method has been pivotal in reducing opioid use post-surgery. Pacira’s patent for Exparel, which extends until 2041, covers not only the drug but also the methods of its production.

Legal Representations and Future Implications

As the legal representatives from McCarter & English LLP, O’Toole Scrivo LLC, Fish & Richardson PC, and Perkins Coie LLP argue for Pacira, and Hill Wallack LLP and Goodwin Procter LLP for eVenus, the case could set a significant precedent for generic drug approvals and patent integrity in the pharmaceutical industry. Pacira seeks not only a ruling of infringement but also attorney fees, underlining the case’s stakes.