Shire Dev., LLC v. Watson Pharm., Inc., No. 13-1409 (Fed. Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Shire markets oral pharmaceuticals under the brand name LIALDA®. Its patent, entitled “Mesalazine Controlled Release Oral Pharmaceutical Composition,” concerns controlled-release compositions for treating inflammatory bowel diseases, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. The active ingredient is 5-aminosalicylic acid, also called mesalazine or mesalamine, which treats inflamed areas in the bowel by direct contact with the intestinal mucosal tissue. It must pass through the stomach and small intestine without being absorbed into the bloodstream and must be administered throughout the entire length of the colon so that the mesalamine contacts all affected tissues. The oral composition must, therefore, contain a high percentage of mesalamine. The patent teaches an inner lipophilic matrix and an outer hydrophilic matrix to address the limitations of the prior art systems. According to the patent, the combination of a lipophilic and hydrophilic matrix in an inner-outer matrix system, respectively, is advantageous because the inner-outer matrix properties cause the mesalamine to be released in a sustained and uniform manner. Watson submitted an Abbreviated New Drug Application seeking approval to sell generic LIALDA®. Shire sued. After construing claim language, the district court found infringement. The Federal Circuit reversed. The district court’s constructions of “inner lipophilic matrix” and “outer hydrophilic matrix” impermissibly broadened the ordinary meaning of the terms.
The court issued a subsequent related opinion or order on June 3, 2015.