J&J sues Abbott to block new stent

Apparently, Johnson & Johnson didn't want to wait and see what the FDA's expert advisors think of Abbott Laboratories' Xience stent. The company filed suit against Abbott for patent infringement instead.

It's the fourth time this year that J&J has gone after Abbott in court in an attempt to keep Xience off the market. The new suit claims that Xience tramples on a patent for the use of rapamycin and related meds on stents. Rapamycin is the drug that coats J&J's Cypher stent; Xience uses everolimus, which J&J claims is a related drug. The suit was filed Tuesday, the same day J&J's Cordis unit got the patent in question.

It's true that Abbott could hive off a chunk of the stent market with the new Xience product. The debate over safety of drug-coated stents still rages, and FDA staff said Tuesday that Xience may be safer than older products.

- see Abbott's release about the Xience review
- check out the report from the Boston Globe

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