Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA:US), the world’s biggest generic drugmaker, didn’t infringe any of Purdue Pharma LP’s valid patents related to the painkiller OxyContin, a federal judge ruled after a nonjury trial.
U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan today also invalidated some of the six Purdue patents covering the drug that were involved in the case. Purdue argued that Teva, which manufactures generic pharmaceutical products, infringed its patents by seeking approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell an equivalent of OxyContin.
Stein said in his ruling that while Teva infringed at least three of Purdue’s patents, it escaped liability for the infringement because it demonstrated that the patents were “obvious” and therefore invalid.
“The court concludes that Teva has not infringed on any valid patents asserted by plaintiffs,” Stein ruled. “Although plaintiffs have proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Teva’s proposed products infringe” upon four patents, “Teva has proved by clear and convincing evidence that the asserted claims of those patents are invalid,” Stein said.
OxyContin sales made up about $2.81 billion of the $9.38 billion U.S. market for prescription painkillers in 2012, according to IMS Health Inc., a health-care data provider based in Danbury, Connecticut.
American depositary receipts of Teva, which is Israel’s biggest company, rose as much as 4.4 percent after the ruling. Teva rose 6.7 percent to $44.21 at the close in New York, the highest price since May 8, 2012.
James Heins, a spokesman for Stamford, Connecticut-based Purdue, said the company intends to appeal.
“We are confident in the strength and validity of our patents and are disappointed in the court’s decision,” Heins said.
Denise Bradley, a spokesman for Teva, declined to comment on the ruling.
In April, Purdue settled a patent-infringement lawsuit against Actavis Inc. over OxyContin, a narcotic used to treat pain from cancer and other conditions that can also be abused by addicts.
Purdue granted Actavis (ACT:US) a license to sell “defined quantities” of a generic version of the drug as early as this year, the companies said in a statement at the time. Actavis, based in Morristown, New Jersey, would acknowledge that its formulations infringed the Purdue patents, according to the statement.
Prescription painkillers were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008, more than cocaine and heroin combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drugmakers including Purdue and Endo Health Solutions Inc. (ENDP:US) are attempting to make tamper-resistant formulations that deter tablet crushing that gives addicts a greater high.
The case is In Re OxyContin Antitrust Litigation, 04-md-01603, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
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