NEW YORK (
Johnson & Johnson
shares were sliding at the market open after it received court order to pay Swiss drug company
$130 million for breaching a licensing agreement.
Shares of J&J were down 1.0% to $61.67.
A Dutch arbitral tribunal has asked J&J to pay Basilea $130 million for lost milestones, other damages and interest, according to Basilea, which says the award is "immediately enforceable."
The court order marks the end of a legal battle between the two companies in which Basilea alleged that J&J's defective testing of antibiotic "superbug" killer ceftobiprole was the reason for the drug's rejection by European and U.S. regulators.
"This award in our favor has validated our grounds for arbitration," said Anthony Man, CEO of Basilea. "Ceftobiprole is a very innovative drug.... This is a very unfortunate situation in which patients have not been able to access this potentially life-saving drug."
The news arrives as another blow to J&J's already tarnished image. This year alone, its McNeil Consumer Healthcare has issued several major over-the-counter drug recalls this year, involving tens of millions of units at the wholesale and retail levels -- many of them attributable to "smelly" children's Tylenol."
Given the massiveness of the recalls in such a short period of time, J&J has alarmed federal regulators and is currently under criminal investigation by the U.S. Justice Department.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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