Sunovion Settles Patent Suit Against Teva Over Lunesta Generic

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has agreed not to sell a generic version of the sleep medicine Lunesta until at least 2013, settling a patent suit brought by the drug’s manufacturer Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co.’s Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

The settlement lets Teva, the world’s biggest generic-drug company, sell a copy of Lunesta under a license as soon as Nov. 13, 2013. The date would be pushed back to May 31, 2014, if Sunovion gets six months additional exclusivity granted under a federal drug law for agreeing to test the drug on children, said Denise Bradley, a Teva spokeswoman.

The agreement allows Teva to enter the market about 2 1/2 months before the expiration of a patent on the drug, also known by its chemical name eszopiclone. The terms are similar to an agreement reached in August by Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd. and Sunovion, which changed its name from Sepracor Inc. in October.

Sepracor was bought by Osaka, Japan-based Dainippon Sumitomo in 2009. Sales of Lunesta were $741 million in the 12 months ended in March, Glenmark said in August, citing researcher IMS Health.

The settlement was reached between Sunovion and Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva to “eliminate the substantial litigation costs that would otherwise be incurred,” the companies said in a filing posted yesterday in federal court in Newark, New Jersey.

The case is Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., 09cv1302, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Newark).

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