A Time to Celebrex
Brigham Young University Takes on Pfizer Over Drug Celebrex and Wins $450 Million Settlement
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has brought revenues of about $35 billion from their successful pain killer Celebrex, but apparently they haven’t placed credit where it is due. That credit will cost Pfizer $450 million, which also settles a six-year-long dispute with BYU and its chemistry professor Daniel Simmons.
Simmons claims to have discovered an enzyme called Cox 2 that would allow for an anti-inflammation drug without the long-term side effects of aspirin. BYU entered into an agreement to develop the drug with Monsanto, which was later acquired by Pfizer. But Monsanto cancelled the contract and did not place Simmons on the patents, misappropriating his work to create the drug, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.
Pfizer argued that Simmons’ discovery was not vital to the development of Celebrex, but BYU disagreed. BYU initially claimed it was owed $9.7 billion in royalties from Pfizer, but sources say it could have been much higher. After the $450 million settlement in May 2012, however, BYU said that they were “very pleased with how this matter has been resolved.”
Pfizer released a similar statement.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter and the uncertainty of litigation, and to be in a position to support Dr. Simmons’ research efforts at BYU," the company said. BYU said it plans to endow a Dan Simmons chair in recognition of his lifelong work advancing health science.