Neurim Pharmaceuticals (1991) Ltd & Anr v Teva UK Ltd [2022] EWHC 954 (Pat)

26 April 2022

Charlotte May QC successfully appeared as lead counsel for the defendant (“Teva”) in opposing an application for an interim injunction brought by the claimants (“Neurim”) for an order restraining Teva from disposing of, offering for sale, selling or supplying a generic version of Circadin. The hearing of the application had been expedited by Roth J.

Circadin is Neurim’s brand name for the drug melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone.  Neurim is the proprietor of a patent for the use of melatonin, in a prolonged release formulation, in the manufacture of a medicament for improving restorative sleep for those suffering with insomnia.

Mellor J refused the application for interim injunctive relief.  Teva had launched its generic in mid-October 2021 and made their intentions to launch clear to Neurim, who had sufficient evidence to apply for an interim injunctive relief.  Instead, Neurim waited until March 2022.  The judge held that damages would not adequately compensate Neurim for the loss suffered in the period after expiry of the patent, in the event that the injunction was refused, because of the lack of certainty over a downward price spiral in the market.  Nor would damages adequately compensate Teva if the injunction were granted because of considerable uncertainties in trying to ascertain the damage caused.  On the balance of convenience, the judge held damages would be considerably less adequate for Teva and that preservation of the status quo meant allowing Teva to remain on the market.

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