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AZ defiant after Symbicort patent revoked

The European Patent Office has upheld an appeal by two generic drug manufactures, Norton Healthcare and Generics UK, and revoked a patent for Symbicort
The European Patent Office (EPO) has upheld an appeal by two generic drug manufactures, Norton Healthcare and Generics UK, and revoked a patent for Symbicort.

The AstraZeneca (AZ) drug is used for treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and is approved for this indication in 22 EU countries including the UK, France, Belgium, Spain and Germany.

Patent expiry was scheduled to take place in 2018. A second patent is still being contested. AZ has pledged to continue defending and enforcing its remaining intellectual property rights for the medicine.

David Brennan, chief executive officer of AZ, said: "Symbicort is a strong brand and constitute an important part of our growth potential for the coming years in Europe, where we have data exclusivity protection until 2010."

In 2007, sales of Symbicort reached $1.58bn, $1.34bn of which was in the European market. Loss of the patent for the AZ drug could increase the level of generic competition and threaten the firm's substantial financial track record with the treatment.

6th May 2008

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