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AZ CEO confident of overcoming patent challenges

AstraZeneca's CEO David Brennan told reporters at a briefing that the company has not discussed settlement options with the companies challenging patents of its two biggest drugs Nexium and Seroquel.

AstraZeneca's CEO David Brennan told reporters at a briefing that the company has not discussed settlement options with the companies challenging patents of its two biggest drugs Nexium and Seroquel.

Brennan said that he cannot foresee when the various court proceedings with come about but feels AZ has a strong case and has experience in successfully defending against previous patent challenges. 

In February, Ranbaxy Laboratories received tentative approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to manufacture and sell generic versions of heartburn drug Nexium. It is not known when Ranbaxy is to launch its version of the drug, although it could be as early as April 2008.

AZ's patents for Nexium are expected to expire between 2014 and 2019.

AZ is currently involved patent litigation over Nexium with Ranbaxy, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Dr Reddy's Laboratories, all of which are working on generic versions of Nexium ahead of the expiration of its patents.

Seroquel is also likely to face generic competition from March 2008.

The loss of both patents will be a huge blow to AZ's sales. Nexium clocked up sales of $5.2bn in 2007, and Seroquel reached global sales of just over $4bn.

13th February 2008

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