Roche Sues Teva, Sandoz, Dr. Reddy’s Over Generic Aloxi

Roche Holding AG filed a lawsuit seeking to block generic-drug companies including Novartis AG’s Sandoz and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. from selling a low-cost version of the anti-nausea drug Aloxi.

Sandoz, Teva and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. are seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell generic versions of the medicine. Roche and partner Helsinn Healthcare SA contend the versions would infringe two patents that expire in 2024.

Aloxi, first approved by regulators in 2003, is an injection used to prevent nausea and vomiting caused by surgery or chemotherapy. Roche and Helsinn are seeking a court ruling that would uphold the validity of their patents and block the FDA from granting approval to the copycat medicines.

Sandoz, a unit of Basel, Switzerland-based Novartis, is the world’s second-biggest generic-drug maker, behind Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva. Dr. Reddy’s, based in Hyderabad, India, is that country’s second-biggest drugmaker.

Roche, based in Basel, and Helsinn, a closely held Swiss company, filed the complaint July 8 in federal court in Newark, New Jersey, claiming they will be “irreparably harmed” by the alleged infringements. The patents were issued on May 24, according to the complaint.

Rachel Zabinski, a spokeswoman for Novartis, said in an e-mail that the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Denise Bradley, a Teva spokeswoman, declined to comment. A representative of Dr. Reddy’s didn’t immediately return an e-mail seeking comment.

The case is Helsinn Healthcare v. Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, 11-cv-3962, U.S. District Court, District of New Jersey (Newark).

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