Lilly's Gemzar patent upheld

INDIANAPOLIS A court has upheld Eli Lilly’s patent on an injected drug for treating cancer, the drug maker announced Thursday.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana upheld the validity of Lilly’s compound patent on Gemzar (gemcitabine hydrochloride), maintaining the company’s U.S. exclusivity for the drug through Nov. 15, blocking Teva Pharmaceutical Industries’ attempt to market a generic version.

A second patent for the drug, which would have expired in 2013 and covered the drug’s Food and Drug Administration-approved uses, was ruled invalid by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in a separate case. Because Lilly has appealed the Michigan court’s decision, the Indiana court ruled that Lilly could not enforce the 2013 patent in the Indiana case.

“We are pleased with the court’s ruling upholding the validity of Gemzar’s compound patent and remain optimistic that a successful appeal of the Michigan decision on the Gemzar method-of-use patent will retain U.S. exclusivity for Gemzar into 2013,” Lilly SVP and general counsel Robert Armitage said. “Protection of intellectual property rights is extremely important to the biopharmaceutical industry and the physicians and patients we serve, as these rights help support the development of the next generation of innovative medicines to treat unmet medical needs.”

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