AZ hits back at Crestor imitators

The empire strikes back. AstraZeneca went on attack today, suing seven generics makers who've filed for FDA permission to sell copycat versions of Crestor. The blockbuster cholesterol drug was AstraZeneca's third best-selling med last year with $2 billion in sales.

The suit names Cobalt, Aurobindo Pharma, Apotex, Par Pharmaceutical, Sandoz, Mylan, and Sun Pharmaceutical. Two other companies have filed for FDA approval for Crestor copies--Glenmark and Teva--but they aren't named. Cobalt started the wave of Crestor copies by filing for FDA approval November 1. Cobalt alleged that AstraZeneca's Crestor patents--which aren't scheduled to expire until 2016, 2020, and 2021--weren't infringed by the generic version and/or were invalid or unenforceable.

AZ is keen to hang onto patent protection for Crestor, which contributed $691 million to its third-quarter revenues. Competition from other generics already is cutting into the company's profits.

- see AstraZeneca's release
- read the article from Business Week

ALSO: Take a look at AstraZeneca's pipeline. Report