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Merck, Takeda Unit Sue Fresenius Over Snake-Venom Drug

Merck & Co. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s Millennium unit sued subsidiaries of Fresenius SE for infringing three U.S. patents for a human blood-thinner made from rattlesnake venom.

U.S. units of Fresenius, based in Bad Homburg, Germany, plan to market a generic version of anti-clotting Integrilin before the patents expire in 2015, according to a complaint filed Nov. 9 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.

In applying to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for permission to sell the drug, Fresenius “acted without a reasonable basis for believing that it would not be liable for infringing,” the drugmakers said in the complaint. The sales would cause “irreparable injury,” the companies said.

Integrilin can be used to prevent clots when doctors perform artery-clearing angioplasty procedures on heart-attack patients and install coronary stents to prop open clogged blood vessels.

Matthias Link, a Fresenius spokesman, didn’t immediately reply to an e-mail seeking comment on the lawsuit after regular business hours in Germany.

Merck is based in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. Takeda is based in Osaka, Japan.

The case is Merck v. Fresenius, 12-cv-1410, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patents, click: 5,807,825; 5,747,447; 5,968,902.

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