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Gilead Judge Re-Opens Case Amid Claim Merck Scientist Lied

A federal judge re-opened Merck & Co.’s patent case against Gilead Sciences Inc. over a hepatitis C drug amid claims that an ex-Merck scientist lied to a jury that awarded the company $200 million in damages.

U.S. District Judge Beth Labson Freeman said Friday she’s “outraged” about an allegation the now-retired scientist deceived jurors with testimony that he was responsible for early breakthroughs on compounds that led to a cure for the liver disease. Gilead’s development of its Sovaldi and Harvoni medicines helped it become the world’s largest biotechnology firm by market value.

While the scientist, Phil Durette, said a patent he obtained for Merck was the result of his own work, Gilead said evidence shows he actually relied on an earlier patent developed by Pharmasset Inc., before that company was acquired by Gilead in 2011.

“It’s the sad truth that people lie in court every day,” Labson...