SINGAPORE (Oct 22): Recently, Sandoz, the generics division of Novartis, settled a patent lawsuit with AbbVie over Humira, a so-called biologic drug that treats rheumatoid arthritis and just so happens to be the biggest money-maker in all of pharma. With 2017 sales of US$18.4 billion ($25.3 billion), Humira accounts for an astonishing 65% of AbbVie’s revenue.

The settlement will enable Sandoz to bring a generic version — called a biosimilar — to the US market at the beginning of 2023, while paying AbbVie a royalty. This mirrored similar settlements with Mylan, Amgen and Samsung Bioepis Co that will allow all of them to sell generic Humira at staggered dates in 2023. (A fifth company, Boehringer Ingelheim, is continuing to litigate over the Humira patents.)

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