<span class="articleLocation”>A U.S. appeals court on Thursday said Eli Lilly
and Co may block Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd from selling a generic equivalent of its top-selling
lung cancer drug Alimta, in a closely watched patent case.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit let stand
a lower court finding that Teva and other defendants would be
liable for inducing infringement by doctors who prescribe
generic versions of Alimta.
Writing for a three-judge panel, Chief Judge Sharon Prost
said evidence that Teva’s proposed product labeling for its
generic would lead some doctors to infringe the Lilly patent “establishes the requisite intent for inducement.”
Teva spokeswoman Denise Bradley said the Israel-based
generic drugmaker is disappointed with the decision, which
upholds rulings by U.S. District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt in
Alimta, whose chemical name is pemetrexed, is Lilly’s
top-selling oncology drug, accounting for sales of $1.74 billion
in the first nine months of 2016, and for 11 percent of
Indianapolis-based drugmaker’s total revenue.
The so-called vitamin regimen patent in question covers a
method in which patients take folic acid and vitamin B12 prior
to Alimta, to reduce the drug’s toxicity and allow it to
interrupt the ability of cancer cells to reproduce.
Michael Harrington, Lilly’s general counsel, said in a
statement the company is pleased with Thursday’s decision.
Lilly said the patent gives it the right to block U.S. sales
of generic Alimta until May 2022. It has warned that the loss of
this right could have significantly harmed its financial results
A separate patent for the drug expires on Jan. 24.
Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson in a research note said that
a loss of patent protection for Alimta could reduce Lilly’s
profits by 15 percent through 2022.
In midday trading, Lilly shares were up $1.75, or 2.3
percent, at $77.01.
The case is Eli Lilly and Co v Teva Parenteral Medicines Inc
et al, U.S. Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, No. 2015-2067.
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