Conatus Pharmaceuticals Inc. has several patents for emricasan. Some don’t expire until 2028. A third party wanting to sell the molecule would need to license it from Conatus, according to Joseph O’Malley, global chair for intellectual property at Paul Hastings LLP.
“Assuming that drug were to be found to treat Zika,” Mr. O’Malley said, “it would be bad news for the company. It would be under tremendous pressure to license it for little or no money.”
Alfred Spada, Conatus’s chief scientific officer, said if emricasan “were effective in the treatment of such a devastating disease, I think we would be ecstatic.”