The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ordered that the only Orange Book patent asserted in a lawsuit must be delisted since its claims were directed to the computer-implemented distribution system and not a method of use. Jazz Pharms., Inc. v. Avadel CNS Pharms., LLC, Case No. 23-1186 (Fed. Cir. Feb. 24, 2023) (Lourie, Reyna, Taranto, JJ.)
Jazz Pharmaceuticals holds a new drug application (NDA) for Xyrem, an oral sodium oxybate solution prescribed to help those with certain narcolepsies manage cataplexy. Sodium oxybate itself is no longer covered by patents because it has been used in relation to narcolepsy since the 1960s. For this reason, Jazz built its patent portfolio around Xyrem’s formulation, use and distribution.
Jazz uses a single-pharmacy distribution system for Xyrem, known as a risk evaluation mitigation strategy (REMS). Implementing REMS was a condition of Xyrem’s US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) approval because it mitigates safety risks of dangerous active pharmaceutical ingredients such as sodium oxybate. One of Jazz’s patents is directed to this REMS distribution system. Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) 505(b)(2) NDA (Hybrid NDA) approval is similarly conditioned on implementing a REMS that is sufficiently comparable to any that the NDA holder must implement. The FDA eventually determined that single-pharmacy systems were unnecessary for Xyrem and potentially detrimental.
Avadel submitted a hybrid NDA for a drug that requires only a single nightly dose, unlike Xyrem, which requires a patient to wake up during the night to ingest a second dose. Avadel’s application also proposed a more lenient REMS that utilizes multiple pharmacies. In view of these differences, Avadel believed that it could avoid a lengthy FDA approval process because all of Jazz’s Xyrem Orange-Book-listed patents seemed addressable without making any Paragraph IV certifications. As for the REMS patent, Avadel filed a statement under 21 U.S.C. § 355(b)(2)(B) because the patent was listed as claiming a method of use and Avadel was not seeking approval for the REMS system to which that patent’s claims were directed.
Jazz sued Avadel asserting seven patents, of which the REMS patent was the only Orange-Book-listed patent. Avadel asserted a counterclaim requesting that the district court order Jazz to delist the REMS patent from the Orange Book. The district court subsequently held a Markman hearing finding that the REMS patent’s claims were directed to a system and not a method. The district court granted Avadel’s motion for judgment on the pleadings, finding that the REMS patent did not claim “the drug for which the application was approved” and thus had to be delisted from the Orange Book. Jazz appealed.
Jazz argued that because the FDA permitted the REMS patent to be Orange Book listed, Avadel was prohibited from availing itself of the statutory delisting provision. The Federal Circuit disagreed, concluding that the language of the delisting provision was only concerned with whether a listed patent met the provisions’ conditions at the time of the triggering litigation.
Jazz also argued that there was no evidence that Congress imported patent-law [...]