Jury: Gilead owes Merck $200M in damages over drug patents

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

The federal jury in a high-stakes patent trial ordered drugmaker Gilead to pay rival Merck $200 million in damages for infringing on patents for hepatitis C drugs.

That's far below the billions Merck sought, but the trial moves to a new phase next Wednesday, when the jury will decide whether Merck is due royalties on sales of Gilead's blockbuster hepatitis C drugs, Harvoni and Sovaldi.

The jury in San Jose, California, on Tuesday upheld the validity of two patents Merck and partner Ionis Pharmaceuticals filed in 2002. Merck claims those patents were the basis for sofosbuvir, the active ingredient in Sovaldi and part of combination drug Harvoni. The two drugs had 2015 worldwide sales of $19.1 billion.

Gilead says it will appeal the jury's award if a judge upholds it.