says U.S. court invalidates Celebrex patent; generics loom
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[March 13, 2014]
A U.S. court ruled invalid a patent
covering Pfizer Inc's blockbuster Celebrex painkiller, the drugmaker
said, giving generic rivals an earlier U.S. entry that analysts
estimated could cost the company $3 billion in revenue by the end of
Pfizer shares closed down 1.4 percent on the New
York Stock Exchange.
Pfizer said it would appeal the ruling, made by the U.S. District
Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which invalidated a
patent covering how Celebrex is administered to treat
Celebrex has annual global sales of about $3 billion, including $2
billion in the United States. It is the fourth-biggest product for
Pfizer, which has total annual company sales of about $52 billion.
Pfizer, in its full-year 2014 profit forecast, had assumed Celebrex
would maintain its U.S. marketing exclusivity through December 2,
2015 based on the so-called method of use patent, Morningstar
analyst Damien Conover said.
He said the court's decision, if not overturned on appeal, could
cost Pfizer $1 billion in revenues this year and $2 billion next
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Conover said he had been surprised by Pfizer's confidence in the
method of use patent, because they are rarely upheld by U.S. courts.
The drug's basic chemical patent lapses on May 30, 2014, and generic
companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc and Mylan
Pharmaceuticals Inc have sought approval to sell their cheaper
versions at that point.
"It seems likely that odds are in favor of generics launching
early," Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson said in a research
(Reporting by Vrinda Manocha in
Bangalore and Ransdell Pierson in New York; editing by Joyjeet Das
and Andrew Hay)
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