Pfizer Inc. announced it has settled a lawsuit filed by Brigham Young University over a development dispute related to the painkiller Celebrex.
According to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Pfizer said it was taking a $450 million charge against first-quarter earnings to settle the case. The other terms of the settlement have not been disclosed.
The settlement comes after six years of battles over the discovery of an enzyme that led to the development of a drug now widely viewed as a breakthrough in the treatment of arthritis and inflammation. BYU was asking for a 15 percent royalty on sales of Celebrex, which would amount to about $9.7 billion. The university was also asking for billions more in punitive damages and interest.
According to the lawsuit, BYU claimed a chemistry profession, Daniel Simmons, discovered the genetic workings of the drug in the early 1990s. The university claims Pfizer violated a research agreement the school had made with predecessor companies. BYU alleged it had a research agreement with Monsanto Co., which was later acquired by Pfizer for the development of a “super aspirin,” or a drug that could reduce pain and inflammation without triggering gastrointestinal effects. Simmons claimed he discovered an enzyme that caused those side effects and the new drug works to disable it.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter and the uncertainty of litigation and to be in a position to support Dr. Simmons’ research efforts at BYU,” Pfizer said in a brief statement. Neither side would comment further. As part of the settlement, BYU plans to endow a Dan Simmons Chair in recognition of his lifelong work advancing human health.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a pharmaceutical, contact the experienced drug injury attorneys at Lord & Faris for a free consultation.
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