Merck pulls a patent win for diabetes franchise in West Virginia federal court

Merck doesn’t have to sweat Januvia and Janumet competitors — at least for now.

A federal judge awarded Merck a win in its patent battle against Viatris, the pharma giant announced Thursday, putting the freeze on a potential Viatris generic until at least 2026, barring an appeal.

Judge Irene Keeley of West Virginia upheld two key patents surrounding sitagliptin, an active ingredient in the blockbuster diabetes drugs. The first patent, No. 7,326,708, covers the dihydrogen phosphate salt of sitagliptin and is valid through 2026, with pediatric exclusivity until 2027. The second, No. 8,414,921, covers the co-formulation of sitagliptin and metformin in Janumet and expires in 2029.

While it isn’t immediately clear if Viatris will challenge the decision, the company has fought Merck’s diabetes patents in the past and is currently in a separate appeals case over the validity of the salt patent. Januvia is looking to…
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