Sanofi’s (SNY) two patents on the cancer drug Taxotere were ruled invalid and unenforceable by a U.S. court today in a victory for generic-drug makers Hospira Inc. (HSP:US) and Apotex Inc.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower court finding on the two patents. The decision was posted on the court’s website.
Taxotere, the successor to the cancer drug Taxol, generated 922 million euros ($1.2 billion) last year for Paris-based Sanofi. That’s a 57 percent drop from the year before because of generic-drug competition, Sanofi said Feb. 8.
The Federal Circuit, which specializes in U.S. patent cases, said a judge was correct to rule that the two patents were obvious variations of earlier research, and that the inventor misled the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the patents by withholding that earlier know-how.
Sanofi (SAN) was disappointed by the appeals court decision on the patents for Taxotere and is evaluating its options, said Carrie Brown, a spokeswoman. Hospira said it was pleased with the decision.
“Hospira is committed to continuing to provide U.S. cancer patients with high-quality, lower-cost alternatives to branded oncology products,” said Dan Rosenberg, a spokesman for Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira.
The case is Aventis Pharma SA v. Hospira Inc., 11-1018, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Aventis Pharma SA v. Hospira Inc. and Apotex Inc., 07CV721, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).
To see the patents, click: 5,714,512 and 5,750,561.
To contact the reporter on this story: Susan Decker in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Bernard Kohn at email@example.com