India's Intas sued by Roche over anemia drug version

Roche headquarters in Switzerland.(CC BY SA 3.0)

Ahmedabad-based Intas Pharmaceuticals said it will fight a lawsuit by Roche filed in India's Delhi High Court that says the Indian company's anemia drug Erypeg infringes on a patent Roche holds for its Mircera in the country.

The Economic Times said that in a court brief Roche ($RHHBY) contends that the therapy used to treat kidney patients with anemia was a direct copy of Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta), which clocked $500 million in global sales last year. Roche has sought an injunction on the Intas version in India.

Intas has however said it will fight the move.

"We also have strong grounds of invalidation for the enforced patent," Intas told the newspaper in a statement. Roche was not immediately available for comment.

A ruling on the injunction request is pending, the Economic Times said, adding that pricing of the two products shows a sharp gap.

Erypeg costs INR4,080 ($61) to INR8,200 ($123) depending on the injection, while Mircera runs between INR5,285 ($79) and INR10,621 ($160), according to the newspaper.

Indian generic drugmakers regularly challenge multinational patents in the country, although recent cases that saw compulsory license applications withdrawn for Sprycel (dasatinib) and Onglyza (saxagliptin) suggest a higher bar has been set.

- here's the story from the Economic Times

Image courtesy of Intas Corporate Communications