SAN FRANCISCO, December 20, 2013: The California Court of Appeals on December 18 affirmed a jury’s decision that Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Actelion, Ltd. is liable for interfering in Asahi Kasei Pharma Corp’s licensing agreement to develop a competing drug (Fasudil) for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Asahi's lawsuit concerned intentional interference with the development of Asahi's potentially life-saving drug Fasudil in the United States for anticompetitive purposes. At trial, Actelion's internal documents showed that Actelion defrauded and intended to extort Asahi in order to "painstakingly kill" the development of Fasudil and "leave the market for [Actelion's competitive drug] Tracleer free for Actelion."
The Court of Appeals rejected challenges made by Actelion to the trial court judgment and affirmed one of the largest judgments in the United States from 2011. The Court affirmed the amended final judgment of approximately $407.3 million, which includes lost profits damages of approximately $360 million, as well as punitive damages of $30 million against individual defendants and executives of Actelion. The trial court's judgment has been bonded by Actelion and is collecting more than $40 million per year in interest since the judgment was entered in 2011.
Asahi was represented in the appeal and throughout the underlying trial by a Morgan Lewis team led by Litigation Practice partners Rollin Chippey II, Benjamin Smith and Christopher Banks. This team, which was first engaged in 2008 to handle a related arbitration resulting in a award of $91.5 million to Asahi, also included Litigation partners Franklin Brockway Gowdy and Thomas Peterson and associates Tera Heintz, Sharon Smith, Eric Iwasaki, Matthew Poole, Daniel Markman and Ashley Krupski.