Premaitha Health Secures Appeal Over Illumina UK Patent Dispute

LONDON (Alliance News) - Premaitha Health PLC said Wednesday it had secured a right from the UK ...

Alliance News 24 January, 2018 | 12:54PM
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LONDON (Alliance News) - Premaitha Health PLC said Wednesday it had secured a right from the UK High Court to appeal against judgment relating to an ongoing litigation with Illumina Inc.

In November 2017, shares in Premaitha fell by a third after the UK High Court ruled that its non-invasive prenatal testing device IONA infringes on Lo I patents held by Illumina. Premaitha warned the court ruling could restrict its ability to sell in the UK market which represented around 20% of revenue.

On Wednesday, Premaitha was granted the right to appeal the first instance judgment.

As part of the hearing, the court ruled Illumina had no standing to bring the infringement claims against Premaitha as it was not the exclusive licensee of the technology. Most of the claims, in fact, were found to be invalid.

Illumina was also allowed, as part of the hearing, to appeal the court's first instance judgment that Premaitha had not infringed its patent and that it is not the exclusive licensee of the patent.

Premaitha was ordered to pay interim costs of around GBP1.5 million to Illumina, this will be held in escrow. This payment - funded by a facility secured on Monday - will be repaid in the event the appeal is successful.

On Monday, Premaitha announced it secured a loan facility of up to GBP2.1 million from US firm Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc in order to help fund its costs related to the litigation process.

Premaitha also agreed to pay 10% of UK revenues earning from the hearing date on Tuesday for the duration of the appeal cycle as a "reasonable reserve for potential future damages if the appeal is unsuccessful." This will also be held in escrow.

Illumina had sought an injunction against Premaitha's IONA test in the UK. This was stayed until resolution of the appeal, however.

"The Court was refreshingly pragmatic in granting us leave to appeal all aspects of the November judgment, with which we still strongly disagree," Premaitha Chief Executive Officer Stephen Little said. "We had anticipated an interim costs award and had taken steps to prepare the necessary facility to meet that, for which we are very appreciative of Thermo Fisher's recent financial support."

"We anticipate the appeal cycle will take at least 12 months and the costs will be significantly lower than those we have incurred to date", Little added. "We remain hopeful that the Courts will in time agree with us on the patent issues at hand."

"We have attempted to engage Illumina into meaningful settlement discussions both before and since the November judgment," Little contined. "We will continue to pursue such discussions as we believe these are firmly in the best interests of patients, clinicians, the NHS and the companies involved. We are open to terms that are financially viable for us to offer IONA within the UK without the negative drag on the whole market that this litigation engenders."

"In the meantime, our business remains firmly on course to expand its international footprint," Little said. "The UK market now represents less than 15% of our revenue run rate and overall the group is seeing sizeable growth on a quarterly basis. Within the UK market place, we will continue to provide exceptional service to our customers and will continue to innovate in the field of NIPT and other applications of NGS technology globally."

Shares in Premaitha were 2.2% higher at 4.60 pence on Wednesday.

By Ahren Lester; ahrenlester@alliancenews.com.

Copyright 2018 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.

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Security Name Price Change (%) Morningstar
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Premaitha Health PLC 13.70 GBX 0.74 -
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