AZ takes steps to shore up Seroquel

Back off, Seroquel imitators. So says AstraZeneca, which is pursuing a summary judgment in its patent fight with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Teva has threatened to launch a copycat version of the antipsychotic med as early as next month. With $4 billion in revenues at stake, AstraZeneca isn't anxious for that to happen.

Meanwhile, the company has blanketed Europe with applications to market Seroquel and Seroquel XR for bipolar disorder and, separately for Seroquel alone, for bipolar depression. The apps were submitted under Europe's mutual recognition rules, which means that if one country clears the drugs, then all other EU countries should eventually give it the go-ahead.

Both moves are part and parcel of the same aim: Drumming up additional indications for blockbuster Seroquel to insulate it from generic competition. Analysts expect AstraZeneca to file for severe-depression use later this year.

- see the release from AstraZeneca
- read the lawsuit brief in the Wall Street Journal
- check out the report at CNN Money