Lilly and Novo Nordisk Go to Battle Over Rapid-Acting Insulin Patent

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Insulin aspart, Novo Nordisk’s rapid-acting insulin, has been cleared for sale in Europe under the brand name Novo Rapid. Its arrival on the United States market still depends on the outcome of court battles between Novo Nordisk and its insulin-manufacturing competitor, Eli Lilly.

Like Lilly’s Humalog, insulin aspart is designed for injection just before a meal. Lilly is claiming that insulin aspart is so much like Humalog that Novo Nordisk is infringing on its patent. Lilly filed a patent infringement suit in the United Kingdom claiming that Novo Nordisk threatens insulin aspart’s future in the United States.

To counter Lilly’s attack, Novo Nordisk asked a U.S. court to invalidate Lilly’s patent or rule that insulin aspart does not infringe on the Humalog patent. No court date has been set to decide on this legislation.

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