Amarin Corp. (NASDAQ:AMRN) got a bump in the pre-market Tuesday after announcing that two more patents have been added to Vascepa’s Intellectual Property, protecting the franchise out to 2030. Patents 8,793,727 and 8,293,728 speak to methods of use for icosapent ethyl, Vascepa’s chemical name, and relate to the former patent applications 12/702,889 and 13/349,153. Independent patent attorneys analyzing the applications deemed the ‘889 application among the strongest pieces of intellectual property surrounding Vascepa. The news should give investors, analysts, and more importantly, Amarin’s potential suitors, confidence that New Chemical Entity status is less important than the market may be assuming. The patent issuance lends exclusivity to icosapent ethyl for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia, or high triglycerides, and leaves no pathway for generic companies to get around these patents without challenging the patents’ validity or enforceability directly, which we see as a very low probability prospect.
Amarin is listing the patents in the FDA’s Orange Book, adding to Vascepa’s overall patent estate and making them part of the broader portfolio that generic drug makers would be required to challenge under Hatch-Waxman statues (common generic laws). Investors interested in the Amarin story may be better served with an options strategy, allowing for a hedge against major swings that could accompany a New Chemical Entity decision, a buy-out, or the company moving to launch Vascepa on its own. Expect AMRN to trade higher Tuesday on the new patent issuance.