GHENT, Belgium – Ablynx [Euronext Brussels: ABLX] today announced that it has been successful in the opposition that it had filed in 2007 against the European Patent 1 517 921, which was granted in 2006 to Domantis (now a member of the GlaxoSmithKline group of companies). As a result, the Opposition Division of the European Patent Office yesterday decided to revoke the Domantis patent in full. If this decision becomes final, all the claims of this patent as originally granted will be deemed to have never existed.
The European Patent 1 517 921 related to one specific technique for the half-life extension of immunoglobulin single variable domains. Without this patent, the techniques described in this patent can be applied by Ablynx and its partners in Europe for their internal and partnered programmes without Domantis being able to assert this patent against such activities in Europe.
Edwin Moses, CEO and Chairman of Ablynx, commented:
“This is the result that we always anticipated. From all the evidence available to us, we strongly believe that our current half-life extension technologies currently outperform those of GSK/Domantis, and that once this patent has been finally revoked, we and our partners can be confident that we will have yet another half-life extension technology available to us that we can use without being encumbered by third party patent rights. This is in addition to our own proprietary NExpedite® technology, which is showing ever greater promise. All this will allow us to even further exploit our already well established technical lead over GSK/Domantis, which is for example evidenced by our recent advances in making Nanobodies against some complex targets and classes of targets (such as G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), ion channels and viruses). Also, our Nanobody technology has extensive patent protection and four Nanobody based products are currently in clinical trials.”
Domantis is expected to appeal the decision by the Opposition Division, but Ablynx sees no reason why the arguments that were successful for Ablynx in the opposition proceedings should not be equally successful in appeal. Under the provisions of the European Patent Convention, an appeal filed by Domantis will suspend the decision of the Opposition Division.