U.S. court rules for AstraZeneca in Seroquel case

U.K. drug manufacturer AstraZeneca has won a major court decision in its ongoing battle to ward off generic versions of its widely prescribed antipsychotic drug Seroquel in the U.S. until its patent expires in 2011.

Early Wednesday, AstraZeneca said a federal court in New Jersey has ruled that a trial is unnecessary in its ongoing patent dispute with Novartis AG and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, who have been seeking to market a generic version of Seroquel.

Novartis and Teva have asserted that AstraZeneca obtained the patent rights to Seroquel improperly. A trial on the issue had been slated to begin Aug. 11.

"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," said David Brennan, AstraZeneca's chief executive officer, according to a statement.

Teva issued a statement early Wednesday saying in intends to appeal the decision.

One of the world's best-selling psychiatric drugs, Seroquel is used to treat psychosis associated with severe depression, schizophrenia and dementia. The drug took in 2007 sales of around $4 billion, making it AstraZeneca's second-largest product.

(Published by Market Watch - july 2, 2008)

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