Lilly Wins Appeals Court Ruling in Strattera Patent Case

Eli Lilly & Co., the world’s biggest maker of psychiatric drugs, won an appeals court ruling in its effort to block generic versions of attention-deficit treatment Strattera.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington overturned today a judge’s decision that Lilly’s patent on the medicine was invalid and remanded the case to the lower court for further proceedings. The patent expires in 2017.

Strattera, known by its chemical name atomoxetine hydrochloride, generated sales of $577 million last year for Indianapolis-based Lilly. The company had won an order that prevented drugmakers including Mylan Inc. and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. from entering the market with a generic version until this appeal was decided.

“We are pleased with today’s ruling from the Court of Appeals regarding Strattera’s method-of-use patent and remain confident that the patent is valid and enforceable,” Lilly General Counsel Robert A. Armitage said in an e-mail. “In overturning the prior district court ruling, we believe that the court fairly applied long-standing patent law principles.”

The other companies seeking to sell copies of the medicine include Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.; Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit; Synthon BV; Iceland’s Actavis Group hf; Canada’s Apotex Inc.; India’s Aurobindo Pharma Ltd., Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd., and Cadila Healthcare Ltd.’s Zydus.

The case is Eli Lilly & Co. v. Actavis Elizabeth LLC, 2010-1500, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court case is Eli Lilly & Co. v. Actavis Elizabeth LLC, 07cv3770, U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey (Newark).

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