Teva to Appeal Against Pfizer Victory in Celebrex Patent Suit

Sales of the pain reliever celecoxib mounted to $1.57 billion in 2006

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest maker of generic drugs, said Wednesday it plans to appeal a U.S. judge's decision to uphold patents protecting Pfizer Inc.'s pain reliever Celebrex.

On Tuesday, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled that three patents for Celebrex were valid and enforceable, blocking Israeli company's plans to market 100-milligram, 200-milligram, and 400-milligram strengths of celecoxib, the active ingredient in the Pfizer drug.

Patents covering Celebrex begin expiring in 2013, but Pfizer said the applicable patents prevent a generic launch of the drug until December 2015.

Pfizer, the world's largest branded prescription drugmaker, booked U.S. Celebrex sales of $1.57 billion in 2006.

Representatives at Teva were not immediately available for comment.