Watson confirms Velcade patent challenge

PARSIPPANY, N.J. — Watson Pharmaceuticals on Friday confirmed that Actavis, which was acquired by Watson in October, has filed an abbreviated new drug applications with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration seeking approval to market bortezomib, a generic version of Millennium Pharmaceuticals' Velcade.

Bortezomib is a proteasome inhibitor for intravenous or subcutaneous administration, approved for treatment of patients with multiple myeloma and patients with mantle cell lymphoma who have received at least one prior therapy.

Millennium filed suit against Actavis on Dec. 21 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware seeking to prevent Acatavis from commercializing its ANDA product prior to the expiration of certain U.S. patents. The lawsuit was filed under the provisions of the Hatch-Waxman Act, resulting in a stay of final FDA approval of Actavis' ANDA for up to 30 months from the date the plaintiffs received notice of Actavis' ANDA filing or until final resolution of the matter before the court, whichever occurs sooner, subject to any other exclusivities.

For the 12 months ended Oct. 31, 2012, Velcade had total U.S. sales of approximately $740 million, according to IMS Health.

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