Copaxone patent fight set for court Sept. 7

You can't accuse Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) of leaving its multiple sclerosis blockbuster Copaxone unprotected. The Israeli company, which has been fighting off generics challenges in U.S. court, has just won one battle in the protracted war. A federal court tossed out Mylan's ($MYL) request for summary judgment in one suit, putting the dispute on the trial calendar for next week.

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York set a trial date of Sept. 7 in a suit against four would-be Copaxone copycats: Novartis' ($NVS) Sandoz unit, Momenta Pharmaceuticals ($MNTA), Mylan and Natco Pharma. Teva says the court supported its interpretation of the patent claims involved and rejected those offered by its challengers. Teva maintains that Copaxone is under patent protection until 2014.

Teva sued Sandoz in 2008 and Mylan in 2009 after they applied for FDA approval for their separate versions of the MS drug. U.S District Judge Barbara Jones consolidated the cases. Sandoz has partnered with Momenta on a Copaxone copy, while Mylan and Natco have a global marketing deal for their version.

Copaxone is a major revenue-driver for Teva. For the second quarter, Teva reported $957 million in Copaxone sales, up 24% year over year. U.S. sales accounted for $682 million of that.

- see Teva's release
- read the Bloomberg coverage
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