Astellas Pharma Sues Hospira Over Patent for Heart-Test Drug

A unit of Japan’s Astellas Pharma Inc. (4503) sued Hospira Inc. (HSP), accusing the generic pharmaceutical company of infringing a patent for the drug adenosine, used to diagnose heart blockages.

Astellas contends Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira is planning to market its own version of the drug before the patent expires in 2015, according to a complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Astellas “will be substantially and irreparably damaged and harmed” if a judge doesn’t stop the infringement, plaintiffs’ lawyers said in court papers.

Full-year profit for Astellas, Japan’s third-largest drugmaker, will rise by 25 percent because of lower taxes and an absence of costs related to last year’s earthquake and tsunami, the company said May 10. Astellas reported about $12 billion in revenue for the most recent fiscal year.

“As the world leader in generic injectable drugs, we remain committed to bringing high-quality, low-price products to market as soon as possible,” said Hospira spokesman Daniel Rosenberg in an e-mailed statement commenting on the lawsuit.

Adenosine is injected to help diagnose coronary artery disease in patients who can’t exercise adequately during cardiac stress tests.

The case is Astellas v. Hospira, 12cv652, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patent, click: 5,731,296.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware, at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at

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