Eli Lilly Loses Appeal in Patent Case
July 29, 2010
The Wall Street Journal reports, a federal appeals court ruled that an Eli Lilly Co. patent for anti-cancer drug Gemzar is invalid, a decision that may clear the way for generic competition to the drug late this year. The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit affirmed a 2009 federal trial-court ruling from Michigan that invalidated the patent. Generic-drug manufacturer Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. had challenged the Lilly patent, seeking to offer a generic version of the drug. Other generic companies are involved in related litigation with Lilly. The Federal Circuit said the Gemzar patent was invalid because it repeated claims that Lilly had made in an earlier patent for Gemzar that expired. Lilly said in an April quarterly report that, if it lost the Gemzar appeal, a generic version of the drug could enter the U.S. market as early as November 2010. The drug maker also said the Sun case would affect the related court battles with other generic drug makers. The company said it expects to maintain market exclusivity for Gemzar until Nov. 15. It said the court decision won''t cause the company to modify its current 2010 financial guidance.