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Teva Sues AstraZeneca Over Crestor: $2.8 Billion on the Line

crestor.jpgTeva, the generic maker, is suing AstraZeneca, the holder of the original Crestor patent, claiming that AZ is somehow infringing on rights Teva acquired to the drug back in March 2007.

The Crestor patent isn't supposed to expire until 2016 -- well beyond the industry's looming patent cliff, which is why certain analysts think AZ is at least a hold right now. (Generic entrants into a branded market tend to destroy the original brand. Lipitor, which has not expired yet, is already in decline due to generic competition from dissimilar drugs.)

But Teva won a battle over Crestor patent rights last year. AZ retaliated by suing Teva in July this year to stop them making a Crestor generic (and thus destroying AZ's $2.8 billion-in-revenue franchise on the anti-cholesterol drug). Now teva is back, claiming AZ is full of hot air.

This old Reuters story has some good background. The challenge was expected by analysts earlier this summer.

The main U.S. patent for Crestor does not expire until 2016 and it was recently extended by four years under the provisions of the patent term restoration act.
But generic companies who believe they have found a loophole in the company's patent can mount a challenge well ahead of that time, which would cast uncertainty over the future of the Anglo-Swedish company's key growth product in the United States.
And Crestor was doing so well until now ... If you would like to read a copy of the complaint, it is available as a PDF via this link.
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