A federal jury in Marshall has awarded a Seattle biotechnology company $41.8 million in a patent-infringement lawsuit against Daiichi Sankyo Co. of Japan over a cancer-treatment drug.
At the conclusion of a four-day trial before U.S. Chief Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the Eastern District of Texas, the jury on April 8 rejected Daiichi Sankyo’s challenge to the validity of a patent issued in 2020 to Seagen Inc., formerly known as Seattle Genetics Inc. The patent involves a technology to deliver chemotherapeutic drugs directly to cancer cells – a significant improvement, Seagen claimed in court documents, over earlier, non-targeted drugs that were distributed throughout a patient’s body, “causing significant adverse side effects.”
In its lawsuit filed in October 2020, Seagen claimed that Daiichi Sankyo, the second-largest pharmaceutical company in Japan, appropriated the patented technology, “the result of decades of research and development effort … and hundreds of millions of dollars of investment,” to manufacture a prescription drug, Enhurtu, used to treat metastatic breast cancer. Daiichi has reaped more than $522 million from sales of Enhurtu, Seagen claimed.
The victorious Seattle company was represented at trial by Morrison & Foerster of San Francisco and Ward, Smith & Hill of Marshall.
The lead law firm for Daiichi Sankyo was Paul Hastings, headquartered in Los Angeles. Lawyers for the firm listed in court records as principal contacts for the case did not respond to requests for comment on the verdict.
Johnny Ward, co-founder of Ward, Smith & Hill, said: “We worked with an incredible team to show how Seagen’s drug technology was willfully infringed and used by the defendant to make millions. We are proud the jury agreed with our side.”
Other Ward, Smith & Hill attorneys who worked on the case were Wes Hill and Andrea Fair.
Johnny Ward is the son of retired U.S. District Judge T. John Ward, who is universally credited with making the Eastern District of Texas and, specifically, Marshall, an international hub of patent litigation during his tenure on the bench, from 1999 to 2011. In a 2017 profile of the judge, The Texas Lawbook wrote: “There is no lawyer in the United States more associated with patent litigation than Ward. With apologies to Ben Franklin, no other individual in American history has had a bigger impact on the enforcement of patents.”
The elder Ward is now of counsel at his son’s firm.