Watson Pharma, Novartis settle suit

CORONA, Calif. Drug maker Watson Pharmaceuticals stated Thursday it has settled its patent litigation with Novartis related to Watson's generic version of Exelon, a Novartis Alzheimer's disease treatment, according to reports.

Watson said that Novartis has granted a license to its U.S. patents covering Exelon for a generic version of the drug.

The agreement states that Watson will not begin marketing its generic equivalent product until sometime prior to the patents' expiration. The specific date when Watson may launch the generic was not disclosed.

The Food and Drug Administration tentatively approved Watson’s abbreviated new drug application for its generic version of Exelon.

Novartis reported that sales of Exelon in third quarter 2007 totaled $462 million.

Meanwhile, Indian drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries announced that it has agreed not to market its generic version of Exelon in the United States until the Swiss drug maker's patents for the drug nears expiration.

The FDA approved Sun Pharma's application for its Exelon version in October, before the two companies reached their out-of-court settlement.

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