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Court Rules in Favor of Ariad in Eli Lilly Suit

Ariad Pharmaceuticals said a U.S. federal court ruled in favor of it and co-complainants in a patent infringement case against Eli Lilly, saying that the patent was valid and enforceable.

The patent covered methods of treating human disease by regulating NF-(kappa)B cell-signaling activity, the biotechnology company said in a statement.

Ariad has an exclusive license to patents related to certain NF-(kappa)B treatment methods, the company said.

In May 2006, a jury had ruled in favor of Ariad and other complainants saying the patent claims asserted in the lawsuit were valid and infringed with respect to Eli Lilly's osteoporosis drug, Evista, and septic shock drug, Xigris.

The jury had also awarded damages of about $65.2 million. The co-complainants are Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, and President and Fellows of Harvard College, Ariad said.

Ariad also said that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a final office action in its re-examination of the NF-(kappa)B patent.

The Patent and Trademark Office rejected the patentability of certain claims of the patent, including those asserted in the Eli Lilly lawsuit and a separate lawsuit against Amgen and Wyeth, Ariad said.

In April, Ariad said it had filed a counter claim against Amgen and Wyeth alleging patent infringement. The claim was in response to a lawsuit filed by Amgen seeking to invalidate claims of NF-(kappa)B patent, Ariad said.

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