Natco Falls on Supreme Court Hearing on Teva’s Copaxone Patent

Natco Pharma Ltd. (NTCPH) fell by as much as 19 percent after the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA) to revive a patent that would protect its Copaxone multiple-sclerosis drug from generic competition.

The Indian drugmaker’s shares traded 14 percent lower to 690.45 rupees at 1:16 p.m. in Mumbai trading, the biggest drop since January 2008. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex lost 0.05 percent.

Natco in a July 27 statement said it had won a ruling in its favor at the U.S. court of appeals that meant it could launch generic Copaxone with its partner Mylan Inc. in May. The Supreme Court agreeing to hear the case means that the launch will be delayed to as late as September 2015, said Hitesh Mahida, an analyst at K.R. Choksey Shares and Securities Pvt. in Mumbai.

“The Copaxone opportunity was contributing significantly to Natco’s share price,” Mahida said. ’’This is a big product for them. Any delay of one and a half years is going to wipe out almost 150 rupees’’ from the share price, he said.

The company confirmed in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange said that it “continues to believe that Teva’s ’808 patent is invalid.”

Teva had U.S. sales of Copaxone of $3.2 billion in the year ended December 2013, according to Bloomberg data. Teva is pleased that the court has agreed to hear its appeal and remains committed to pursuing all options to protect its intellectual property for Copaxone, it said in a statement yesterday.

Hyderabad-based Natco also faces a March 26 order by the Delhi High Court asking it to not export sorafenib, a patented Bayer AG cancer drug that it won a compulsory license to produce for the Indian market in 2012. The Delhi High Court has sought responses from the government and drug control authorities within six weeks and will hear the case next on Aug. 11.

M. Adinarayana, Natco’s general manager of legal and corporate affairs, didn’t immediately respond to a phone call seeking comment.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ketaki Gokhale in Mumbai at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Anjali Cordeiro at Thomas Mulier

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