Lilly prevails in one Gemzar case, preps for appeal in another

Not exactly a win-win, but better than a win-loss: Eli Lilly got court backing for its compound patent on Gemzar, one of its top-selling products. That ruling will keep Teva Pharmaceutical Industries--and other copycats--off the market until Nov. 15.

But that court also ruled that Lilly's method-of-use patent on Gemzar can't be enforced on Teva, at least not now. That's because the patent was declared invalid in a different federal court, pending an appeal set to be heard May 7, Lilly says in a statement. That patent might have protected Gemzar from generic competition until 2013.

And might still, SVP and General Counsel Robert Armitage says in a statement. "We ... remain optimistic that a successful appeal of the Michigan decision on the Gemzar method-of-use patent will retain U.S. exclusivity for Gemzar into 2013." And some analysts theorize that the Michigan court might agree. Leerink Swann analyst Seamus Fernandez says that if Lilly wins that appeal, he'll boost his 2011 revenue forecast by up to $500 million.

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