In what it called a "major breakthrough" for patent protection in Japan, Genentech on Monday said it has won a preliminary injunction in a patent case in Japan against Toyobo, a $4-billion textile and pharmaceutical maker.
On Monday, court bailiffs seized the drug t-PA at a Toyobo plant in Japan after the Osaka District Court ruled last week that Toyobo's sale of the drug infringed on Genentech's Japanese patent.
Toyobo had been manufacturing and marketing the heart-attack drug under license from Genzyme, a Cambridge, Mass., biotech company. Royalties from the drug's sales in Japan were not expected to make major contributions to revenues at either Genentech or Genzyme, but the case was called significant because of its implications for patents in Japan.
Genentech said it believed that the case was the first seizure of a product by Japanese authorities to protect a biotechnology patent. A more conclusive decision is expected this Wednesday, but the case could be appealed.