Allergan rides high on patent backing for key drugs Lumigan and Restasis

Patent-cliff worries have been weighing on Allergan ($AGN) as of late, but a Texas judge has allayed some of those concerns--at least for now. That judge upheld U.S. patents covering glaucoma treatment Lumigan on Tuesday, the same day U.S. patent officials issued Allergan new protection for its leading product, Restasis.

As Reuters reports, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas--the "patent court" where so many infringement cases are tried--affirmed all 5 patents covering Lumigan through 2027. The Irvine, CA-based Allergan had sued several drugmakers looking to launch copies of the glaucoma drug's 0.1% formulation. That version in 2010 replaced a stronger solution that had caused temporary eye redness in some patients.

While CEO David Pyott noted that "of course this will get appealed," Allergan can keep its lock on the Lumigan market as long as at least one of the patents stays in place, according to the news service. And that means keeping Lumigan's revenues, which totaled $622.6 million in 2012.

Allergan will also now be able to count on sales of dry-eye treatment Restasis--which came to $792 million in 2012--with a new patent that extends through 2024. Last summer, with its May 2014 patent expiration less than a year out, Allergan got a scare when the FDA declared potential copycats wouldn't need to go through clinical trials. That news sent shares down 12%.

But with two new Restasis patents in place and more on the way, shares started an ascent Tuesday, climbing 6%, Reuters said. "We believe with these two developments, the two biggest overhangs to the Allergan story will be removed," BMO Capital Markets analyst David Maris wrote in an investor note (as quoted by the news service).

Now that Allergan has its Restasis woes behind it, Pyott said the company will keep its eye out for potential pickups, Reuters notes; those could include new companies or products in fast-growing areas like neurology and urologics.

- get more from Reuters

Special Report: Top 10 Drug Patent Losses of 2014 - Restasis, Allergan | Top 10 DTC Pharma Advertisers - Allergan