Johnson & Johnson's Alza Corp. and McNeil-PPC units accused drugmaker Andrx Corp. of infringing a patent for the attention deficit disorder drug Concerta, as a nonjury trial began in Wilmington, Delaware.
The J&J companies sued Andrx, a unit of Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. (WPI:US), based in Corona, California, in 2005 to stop it from making a generic version of Concerta, an extended- release form of methylphenidate used in Novartis AG (NOVN)'s Ritalin.
Attention deficit disorder, the inability to concentrate, affects as many as 5 percent of school-aged children and is the most commonly diagnosed childhood behavioral disorder, according to the U.S. National Institutes of Health.
Concerta was developed to fill a need for an effective once- a-day dose of the medicine ``to try to help the children,'' microbiologist Diane Guinta testified today. Guinta is named as an inventor of the drug on Alza's 2005 patent.
McNeil distributes the drug, according to court documents. Johnson & Johnson (JNJ:US) last month reported $231 million in third- quarter worldwide sales for Concerta.
U.S. District Judge Joseph J. Farnan Jr. is hearing the case and will rule later. Lawyers for Andrx want the judge to rule that the patent isn't valid, according to pretrial filings.
New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson rose 11 cents to $67.79 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has risen 2 percent this year.
Watson rose 55 cents to $29.33. The shares have risen 12 percent this year.
The case is Alza Corp. v. Andrx Corp., 05CV642, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
To review the disputed patent through the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site, search for patent number 6,919,373 at http://patft.uspto.gov.
To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Patrick Oster at firstname.lastname@example.org; Reg Gale at email@example.com.