Gilead, Teva wrap up Viread patent fight

On the eve of trial, Gilead Sciences ($GILD) and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries ($TEVA) struck a deal to wrap up their patent fight over Viread. If the settlement is approved, the generics maker will have the right to launch its version in December 2017.

The settlement ends a years-long legal battle over the antiviral drug, used to fight HIV and hepatitis B. As Bloomberg notes, Gilead sued Teva for patent infringment in 2008 and again in 2010, alleging that the generics company's plans to copy its HIV meds stepped on four of its patents.

"We believe strongly in the validity of our intellectual property," Gilead President and COO John Milligan said in a statement. "This settlement, however, removes some uncertainty and minimizes further distraction and investment of human and financial resources."

Viread is Gilead's third-best-selling drug, with $849 million in sales last year. That's far behind the company's No. 2 drug, Truvada, which brought in more than $3 billion. Teva and Gilead are wrangling over that drug's patents, too; last year, Teva agreed not to sell its Truvada copy till June 2013, pending a judge's ruling.

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