Nobel Laureate Honjo to Sue Ono Pharma for 22.6 B. Yen

Society Economy Science Technology

Kyoto, June 5 (Jiji Press)--Japanese Nobel Prize winner Tasuku Honjo said Friday he will file in mid-June a lawsuit demanding some 22.6 billion yen from Ono Pharmaceutical Co. <4528> over a patent royalty dispute regarding cancer treatment Opdivo.

The feud between the Kyoto University special professor, who won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and the drugmaker based in the western Japan city of Osaka involves the latter's patent infringement lawsuit over the cancer immunotherapy drug Keytruda of U.S. drug giant Merck & Co.

In the suit, Ono Pharmaceutical and U.S. drugmaker Bristol Myers Squibb Co., both of which sell Opdivo, claimed that Keytruda uses the same mechanism as Opdivo. Honjo conducted the basic research for the development of Opdivo.

The two sides settled the dispute in January 2017, with Merck agreeing to pay 625 million dollars as patent royalties, as well as a portion of Keytruda's sales revenue between 2017 and 2026.

Honjo, who supported the Ono Pharmaceutical-Bristol Myers pair in the lawsuit, said that the Japanese company promised to pay to him 40 pct of the money it would receive from Merck. In August 2017, after the settlement, however, Honjo was told by Ono Pharmaceutical that he would only be paid 1 pct, according to the researcher.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press