Lilly has lost the latest round in an ongoing legal fight over patents covering the administration of vitamins given alongside its blockbuster lung cancer drug Alimta (pemexetred).

The UK High Court has ruled that Lilly’s Alimta vitamin regimen patent would not be infringed by Actavis’ (now Allergan) marketing of its pemetrexed trometamol in the UK, France, Italy and Spain with instructions to dilute the product only with dextrose solution. 

The decision follows a ruling by the UK Court of Appeal in June that said Lilly’s patent would be indirectly infringed by certain alternative salt forms of pemetrexed with instructions to dilute them with saline solution, but left open the question of whether those diluted in dextrose would do so. 

The basic compound patents for Alimta expired in December 2015 across most European markets, but its vitamin regimen patents remain in force until June 2021.

According to Lilly, the court based its decision of non-infringement on Actavis complying with its stated marketing plan for its product, as well as certain circumstances not changing over the remaining life of the patent. 

"We strongly disagree with the ruling by the UK High Court granting a declaration of non-infringement on the Alimta vitamin regimen patents under these circumstances,” said Michael Harrington, senior vice president and general counsel for Lilly. “We plan to seek permission to appeal this ruling.”