Novartis Sues Lupin, Torrent Over Blood-Pressure Medicine

Novartis AG sued Lupin Ltd. and Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd. for infringing patents on its Exforge HCT blood-pressure medicine.

Lupin, based in Mumbai, and Torrent, based in Ahmedabad, India, are seeking to make generic versions of the drug before the expiration of two patents. Novartis requested a court order barring the companies from making, using or offering for sale copies of the drugs until the patents have expired, according to complaints filed today in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

Novartis, based in Basel, Switzerland, is counting on new products, including Exforge, to help replace revenue lost when the company’s best sellers, Diovan for hypertension and Gleevac for leukemia, start to lose U.S. patent protection later this year and in 2015, respectively. The two Exforge patents in dispute expire in 2017 and 2023, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration records.

Dawn Chitty, vice president of regulatory affairs at Torrent’s U.S. offices in Kalamazoo, Michigan, said the company doesn’t comment on pending litigation. Edith St-Hilaire, a spokeswoman for Lupin, didn’t immediately return phone and e-mail messages seeking comment on the lawsuit.

The cases are Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Lupin Ltd, 12-00595; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. v. Torrent Pharmaceuticals, 12-00596, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

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