U.K. Court: Generics Infringe Eli Lilly's Patents on Alimta -- WSJ

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (July 10, 2017).

Eli Lilly & Co. said Friday the U.K. Supreme Court has ruled that a rival's product directly infringes on Lilly's patents for cancer-treatment drug Alimta in several European countries, a breakthrough in the Indianapolis drugmaker's effort to protect market exclusivity for its third-largest product by revenue.

The decision in the patent-infringement suit reversed a lower-court ruling last year that would have allowed competitors such as Actavis, now part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., from making a generic form of Alimta before the patent expires in June 2021. The Supreme Court also upheld the U.K. Court of Appeal's ruling the products from Actavis indirectly infringed on Lilly's patents as well.

The court's full judgment is expected to be handed down Wednesday, Lilly said.

Actavis filed suit more than three years ago to commercialize alternative forms of pemetrexed, the active ingredient in Alimta, diluted in saline solution, claiming it wouldn't infringe on patents for Alimta in the U.K., France, Italy and Spain.

Teva completed its $40.5 billion acquisition of Actavis from Allergan PLC in 2016. Teva, in a statement issued Friday, said it was disappointed with the court's decision.

Lilly said in a statement that it was pleased with the ruling. It has previously said the Alimta vitamin regimen patents were "valid and enforceable" against generic drug manufacturers.

Alimta treats mesothelioma, a rare cancer linked to asbestos exposure. Sales of the product totaled about $2.28 billion for Lilly in 2016, about 11% of its overall revenue.

The drug consists of the compound patent, which covers the basic chemical composition of the drugs. A second patent -- the one that was under review -- covers the method of administering Alimta to patients with certain vitamins designed to mitigate side effects.

Lilly's shares, up 11% this year, rose 0.6% to $82.08 Friday. Shares in Teva fell 0.8% to $31.52.

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 10, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)