If you’re throwing a cocktail party, it would be a good idea not to invite folks from both Abbott Biotech and the Johnson & Johnson subsidiary Centocor Ortho Biotech. These are two companies that do not get along.

The reason for their abiding antipathy is autoimmune disease, or, to be more precise, drugs designed to treat autoimmune diseases. On June 30, you’ll recall, Centocor won the biggest patent infringement verdict in U.S. history against Abbott, in a Marshall, Texas suit alleging that Abbott’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, Humira, infringes a patent co-owned by Centocor. That case, as we noted at the time, was part of a larger battle between Abbott and Centocor for control of the rheumatoid arthritis drug market; last May Abbott sued Centocor in Boston federal district court, claiming that Centocor’s recently approved arthritis drug, Simponi, infringes Abbott’s patent on Humira.

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