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AZ shares buoyed by Seroquel patent victory

The US District Court for New Jersey has granted AstraZeneca a summary judgement in its favour
The US District Court for New Jersey has granted AstraZeneca (AZ) a summary judgement in its favour, upholding the company's allegation that Teva Pharmaceutical Industries infringed the patent of its drug, Seroquel.

AZ claimed that Teva and Sandoz, a Novartis owned firm, had violated the drug's patent by filing an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) to produce and market the generic version of the tablet used for treating bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

Teva and Sandoz were seeking approval to market the generic form of Seroquel (quetiapine fumarate) in the US before its patent expires in 2011. They were hoping to invalidate the patent by arguing that AZ obtained it improperly but the Court ruled against this accusation.

The New Jersey District Court's decision to grant AZ's motion for summary judgement of 'no inequitable conduct' means that a lengthy and costly trial will not have to take place.

David Brennan, CEO of AZ, said: "We are pleased with the court's decision to uphold our valid intellectual property. Seroquel remains an important part of our company's portfolio, benefiting patients and physicians throughout the world."

AZ's share prices rose nearly 5 per cent on July 2, following the judgement. Analysts at Morgan Stanley said the ruling removes a significant threat to AZ's financial standing, since US profits for Seroquel account for 25 per cent of AZís forecast earnings for 2009.

3rd July 2008

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