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Crestor patent legal battle looms

AstraZeneca is preparing for the start of a legal battle to protect the patent on Crestor.
AstraZeneca will go to court next week to lay out a case against generic challengers, which want to start making cheap copies of the cholesterol-lowering product as early as the middle of next year.

Crestor, which is seen as AstraZeneca's big hope for the next five years, generated sales of $3.6bn (£2.2bn) last year. Analysts think this will rise to $6.7bn by 2014, making it an important revenue earner. The main patent covering the drug's chemical formula is due to run out in the US in 2016.

The launch of a generic alternative would wipe out about a quarter of Crestor's total market value. Precedent, however, is on AstraZeneca's side as similar cases involving Seroquel and Nexium, two of its other key products, were settled in its favour last year.

9th November 2009

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