Regenerative therapies maker Shire (NSDQ:SHPGY) found itself the focus of a lawsuit after the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Children’s Medical Center Corp. accused the company of willfully infringing on a trio of patents.
The plaintiffs claim Shire, Shire Regenerative Medicine and Shire Pharmaceuticals are in violation of 2 patents describing a "3 dimensional fibrous scaffold containing attached cells for producing vascularized tissue in vivo," as well as a 3rd patent for preparation of such scaffolds.
MIT and Children’s Medical, the parent organization of The Children’s Hospital Corp. and operator of Boston Children’s Hospital, asked that a court award damages for each count of infringement, but did not explicitly ask for actions that would prevent Shire from continuing to sell the DermaGraft therapy.
DermaGraft, which is cleared for treating diabetic foot ulcers, was owned by Smith & Nephew (FTSE:SN, NYSE:SNN) before it abandoned the product in 2005 after the FDA rejected it as a leg ulcer treatment. SNN then sold the rights to Advanced BioHealing in 2006.
British biotech giant Shire acquired the DermaGraft technology through the June 2011 $750 million buyout of Advanced BioHealing. DermaGraft has had FDA approval since 2001, and began selling in the U.S. in 2007, according to court documents. In September 2012 DermaGraft won it’s 1st non-U.S. approval with a nod from Canadian health regulators.
Shire has put a lot of skin in regenerative medicine, eying a $1 billion return on its investment in the sector. In June 2012 the company announced a more than $100 million investments into a a new 150,000-square-foot campus to house the headquarters, manufacturing and laboratory space for Advanced BioHealing.