BYU amends 2006 lawsuit against Pfizer

The world’s largest pharmaceutical company made misrepresentations and concealed documents from BYU in ongoing $1 billion litigation over creation of the arthritis drug Celebrex, according to an amended complaint filed this month in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City.

BYU and biochemistry professor Daniel Simmons first filed the lawsuit against Pfizer in 2006, alleging that Pfizer predecessor Monsanto breached a contract and acted in bad faith by misappropriating the benefits of Simmons’ discovery of the enzyme COX-2. The anti-inflammatory drug Celebrex, a COX-2 inhibitor, has achieved sales of tens of billions of dollars.

In its amended complaint, filed July 1, BYU added allegations that Pfizer and its law firm, Sidley Austin, acted in bad faith during the discovery process of the lawsuit by falsely denying the existence of documents that showed Monsanto’s plan to use Simmons’ discovery without sharing any of the profits of resulting patents.

“Pfizer then withheld critical documents showing that Brigham Young University’s materials not only worked, but that Monsanto had successfully used them to gain a critical advantage in the development of Celebrex and other COX-2 inhibitors,” the amended complaint says.

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