Processing Magazine

Pfizer, BYU settle Celebrex lawsuit for $450M

May 3, 2012

One month from trial date, Brigham Young University and Pfizer Inc. settled a lawsuit Tuesday for $450 million over whether the Utah school had been cheated out of billions of dollars in royalties for aiding in the development of the anti-pain drug Celebrex, reports The Salt Lake Tribune. Terms of the settlement of the nearly 6-year-long legal dispute were not disclosed in a Pfizer press release but the New York-based company reported separately that it had taken a $450 million charge against its earnings to settle the matter.

BYU claimed in the lawsuit filed in October 2006 that professor Daniel Simmons had discovered an enzyme and a gene called Cox 2 that would allow for development of an anti-inflammation drug that did not have the long-term side effects of aspirin. The school entered into a contract with Monsanto for a joint research project to develop a drug with BYU supposed to receive royalties.

The Provo school claimed that discovery was a key to development of Celebrex but Monsanto, which eventually became part of Pfizer, arbitrarily canceled the contract, did not place Simmons on patents and misappropriated his work to create the drug. The product was one of the most financially successful of all time, bringing in revenues of perhaps $35 billion, according to court papers.