Sanofi-Aventis Legal Attempt to Block Taxotere Generics in Australia Fails

Sanofi-Aventis SA failed to block two generic drug manufacturers from selling a copy of the cancer drug Taxotere in Australia, with a federal court judge refusing to bar the sale of the generics.

Judge Jayne Jagot yesterday denied Sanofi’s request for an injunction, clearing the way for Hospira Inc. and Interpharma Ltd. to sell their copies as soon as a patent on Taxotere’s main ingredient docetaxel expires Feb. 6.

Taxotere accounts for 95 percent of Sanofi cancer drug sales in Australia, according to the judge, who wrote “the lost sales represent substantial sums of money.” Sanofi, based in Paris, can be compensated for the lost sales if it’s able to convince a judge at trial that its patent has been infringed, Jagot ruled.

Taxotere, used to treat prostate cancer, generated 2.18 billion euros ($3.02 billion) in global sales in 2009 for Sanofi.

Alan Brindell, a spokesman for Sanofi in Australia, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment left on his office voice mail.

Sanofi waited too long to object to the entry of the generics into the market to be granted a temporary bar on the sale of the copies, Jagot said.

“There has been undue and inadequately explained delay by the Aventis parties,” Jagot wrote in the ruling, released on the court’s website today.

The case is Between Hospira Australia Ltd. and Aventis Pharma SA. NSD 1521/2010. Federal Court of Australia (Sydney).

To contact the reporter on this story: Joe Schneider in Sydney at jschneider5@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Douglas Wong at dwong19@bloomberg.net

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