sues Eli Lilly over insulin rival to Lantus
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[July 09, 2014] By
(Reuters) - Sanofi SA,
whose top-selling Lantus helps diabetics control blood
sugar levels, has filed a lawsuit accusing Eli Lilly and
Co of infringing seven patents related to insulin and
devices used to deliver it.
Through its complaint made public on Tuesday in the U.S. District
Court in Wilmington, Delaware, Sanofi is seeking to halt Lilly's
proposed commercial marketing in the United States of a rival
treatment, known as Abasria, saying the sale would violate its
Sanofi's lawsuit, and a narrower lawsuit filed in January, came
after Lilly and German partner Boehringer Ingelheim Corp last
December said they had applied with the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration to sell a generic version of Lantus, whose active
ingredient is insulin glargine.
A European regulator, the European Medicine Agency, recommended
approval of Lilly's drug last month.
Lantus is the world's most widely prescribed insulin. Sales totaled
5.72 billion euros (US$7.78 billion) in 2013.
Lilly spokeswoman Tammy Hull said the Indianapolis-based company is
reviewing Sanofi's latest lawsuit, and "does not believe the
application infringes any of the asserted patents." Sanofi is based
Lantus will lose U.S. patent protection in February 2015, and Sanofi
and Lilly have been working on experimental insulin therapies to
Sanofi's product, Toujeo, has triple the concentration of insulin
glargine as Lantus. Lilly's proposed product has the same molecular
formula as Lantus.
The original lawsuit triggered an automatic 30-month stay of FDA
approval of Lilly's drug, keeping it off the market until at least
the middle of 2016.
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Diabetes occurs when the body fails to properly produce or use the
hormone insulin, and is linked to health problems including heart
disease, kidney disease and blindness.
The disease afflicts about 382 million people worldwide and 29.1
million Americans, according to data from the International Diabetes
Federation and the American Diabetes Association.
The case is Sanofi-Aventis US LLC et al v. Eli Lilly and Co, U.S.
District Court, District of Delaware, No. 14-00884.
(1 euro = US$1.361)
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; editing by Matthew
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