Judge gives Lilly a generic reprieve

Eli Lilly execs are high-fiving now that a district judge has blocked Teva Pharmaceutical's launch of an Evista copycat. True, the block is only temporary, until the companies' patent fight is resolved in court, probably later this year. But Judge Sarah Evans Barker, who gave Lilly the reprieve, will also decide the patent case. And in her ruling, analysts say, Barker left some clues that could make Lilly very happy.

In explaining her decision to prevent generic Evista's launch, Barker rejected some important building blocks in Teva's case for selling the drug ahead of its official patent expirations (which start in 2012). For one, Barker didn't agree that Evista's invention was just an obvious extension of previously known work, saying that the company is likely to "prevail in demonstrating the nonobviousness" of the patent.

Teva, for its part, says it plans to appeal Barker's decision--and offered little additional comment in its terse statement. Already, the mandatory 30-month stay in FDA approval has been extended for several months, but it's finally expired, and Teva wants to launch its Evista version posthaste. Will we have to wait for Barker's final decision to get resolution?

- read the Lilly release
- see the news from Teva
- check out the Dow Jones analysis

ALSO: Teva has withdrawn its application to market a generic version of Sanofi-Aventis and Bristol-Myers Squibb's blood thinner Plavix in Europe, regulators said. Report