Teva Pharmaceuticals suffered a big loss on Friday as a U.S. federal appeals court upheld a lower court ruling that Teva had infringed on two patents held by Pfizer, Inc. on its popular Celebrex drug. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit rejected claims by Teva that the two Celebrex patents at issue in the case were invalid, although it agreed with Teva that a third patent was invalid.
A U.S. district court in Newark ruled in favor of Pfizer, upholding its three main patents for Celebrex nearly a year ago.
The decision barred Teva from launching a competitor drug in the United States until December 2015.
This was Teva's second big legal setback in 48 hours. Last week it announced it was suing the FDA, seeking 180-day exclusivity for its copycat form of Johnson & Johnson's schizophrenia drug Risperdal, which has global annual sales of $3.5 billion.
Pfizer sued Teva in February 2004 after the generic drugmaker asked U.S. regulators for permission to sell a copycat version of Celebrex.
If Teva had won that case, it would have received six months of exclusivity on sales of the generic version of Celebrex.
Celebrex, approved in 1998, is an anti-inflammatory drug used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It is Pfizer's second biggest revenue producer, both in the U.S. and around the world, with annual global sales of $2.3 billion. Its U.S. sales are $1.7 billion.
A Pfizer spokesman said the company was still studying the decision and could not immediately comment on its significance.
Teva shares were down 0.21% to $47.75 on Friday on the Nasdaq. Pfizer slipped 1.11% to $21.35 on the New York Stock Exchange, amid a moderate downturn for the drug sector.
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