Appeals court finds for Boston Sci in stent case

A federal appeals court has given Boston Scientific a victory in a patent-infringement dispute with Johnson & Johnson in a case involving drug-eluting stents. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a lower court ruling that four patents on drug-coated stents owned by J&J's Cordis unit are invalid for lack of adequate written description and lack of enablement.

Cordis markets the Cypher stent, which uses rapamycin (sirolimus) to limit the growth of artery-narrowing scar tissue. Boston Sci sells the Promus stent system, which uses everolimus to prevent the growth of this tissue, as Bloomberg notes. Everolimus is made by modifying rapamycin at a single location, according to court documents. The disputed patents were for compounds derived from rapamycin. 

To obtain a ruling that the sale of the Promus stent didn't infringe these patents, Boston Sci filed four complaints back in 2007--later consolidated--seeking declaratory judgments of invalidity. J&J, Cordis and Pfizer's Wyeth unit, which co-owns one of the patents, filed counterclaims of infringement. After a series of summary judgment motions, Boston Sci ultimately prevailed in a decision handed down by the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, leading to the present appeal. 

The Promus stent is Boston Sci's private labeled version of Abbott Cardiovascular Systems' XIENCE V everolimus-eluting coronary stent system. This decision may also benefit Abbott, which is being sued by Cordis over the same technology, as Bloomberg notes.

A Cordis spokeswoman told Dow Jones the company is studying the appeals court opinion.

- see the ruling (.pdf)
- get more from Bloomberg
- check out the Dow Jones report