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Teva Sues Perrigo Over Patents for ProAir Asthma Inhaler

A unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, sued rival Perrigo Co. over patents for the ProAir asthma inhaler.

Teva Branded Pharmaceutical Products R&D Inc. of Horsham, Pennsylvania, contends that Allegan, Michigan-based Perrigo is planning to market its version of the albuterol sulfate aerosol inhaler before the patents expire in 2017 and 2023, according to federal court papers filed yesterday in Wilmington, Delaware.

“Teva will be irreparably harmed” if a jury doesn’t stop the alleged infringement, according to the complaint.

Teva, based in Petach Tikva, Israel, reported $436 million in ProAir sales last year, 2.4 percent of its revenue, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Teva and manufacturer Norton Ltd. of Waterford, Ireland, also named Somerset, New Jersey-based Catalent Pharma Solutions LLC as a defendant. Catalent plans to make the generic product for Perrigo to market, according to court papers.

The lawsuit “formally initiates the litigation process” that could lead to 180 days of generic exclusivity, Perrigo said in a statement through spokesman Arthur J. Shannon.

“Perrigo is committed to making quality health care more affordable for our customers,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph C. Papa said in the statement.

An estimated 18.7 million U.S. adults and 7 million children have asthma, which restricts breathing, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control statistics.

Kristian Klein, a Catalent spokesman, didn’t immediately reply to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the allegations.

The case is Teva v. Perrigo, 12-cv-1101, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patents, click: 7,566,445 and 7,105,152.

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