Since 2017, PharmaEssentia had repeatedly attempted to terminate the agreement with AOP Orphan concerning BESREMi® (Ropeginterferon alfa-2b). After two and a half years of arbitral proceedings, in October 2020, the ICC Arbitral Tribunal issued its award in the matter.
The arbitral award stated that PharmaEssentia’s multiple attempts to terminate the agreement were unjustified, and that AOP Orphan is entitled to payment of damages of approximately EUR 142 million for project delays caused by PharmaEssentia.
In December 2020, PharmaEssentia filed an application to set aside this arbitral award with the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, arguing that the award violated public order and PharmaEssentia’s right to be heard. The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, a German court with major experience in handling this kind of proceedings, called a hearing within less than two months of PharmaEssentia’s filing its setting aside application.
Award Declared Enforceable
However, the Frankfurt Higher Regional Court has announced its decision, and as anticipated, the Court dismissed PharmaEssentia’s set aside application, confirming that both parties had sufficient opportunity to be heard, that all evidence brought before the Arbitral Tribunal was duly taken into consideration, and that the public order was fully respected.
Thus, the award as issued by the ICC Arbitral Tribunal in October 2020 has now been declared enforceable by Frankfurt Higher Regional Court, and AOP Orphan can pursue its enforcement in Germany and elsewhere. An appeal to the German Supreme Court is possible but would not hinder the enforcement of the award.
Dr Rudolf Widmann, Chief Therapeutics Development Officer and Member of the Board of AOP Orphan, explains: “AOP Orphan has always complied with its contractual obligations and is entitled to compensation by PharmaEssentia, following their repeated attempts to boycott the joint project and success of BESREMi®.
“We encourage PEC to accept the arbitral award and work towards cooperative efforts to exploit the full value of BESREMi® in the interest of patients and stakeholders of both companies.
“AOP Orphan has tried to find solutions several times – I would have preferred to invest time and money into making this highly promising drug available to patients with blood cancer, instead of investing it into expensive lawsuits”, Dr Rudolf Widmann said.