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Teva Copaxone Appeal Action Delayed by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court deferred a decision on whether to hear an appeal by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. that aims to delay generic competition to its top-selling Copaxone multiple-sclerosis drug.

The justices took no action today on Teva’s bid for a hearing and are now scheduled to consider the case at their March 21 private conference, according to the court’s public docket.

Teva is seeking to revive a patent that would protect Copaxone from generic rivals until September 2015. Without that patent, Teva will lose legal protection this May on Copaxone, which brings in $3.2 billion in annual U.S. sales and accounts for more than half the company’s profit.

Teva is battling drugmakers that are planning to offer generic versions in May: Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., which has developed a version with Novartis AG’s Sandoz, and Mylan Inc.

The court issued a list of orders today from its March 7 conference. The Teva case was originally scheduled for consideration at that conference. The court, which often defers decisions on pending appeals, is scheduled to issue its next set of orders on March 24.

A ruling last year by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld four Teva patents that expire in May while invalidating a separate patent that would have blocked generic competition until September 2015.

In November, Chief Justice John Roberts refused to put the Federal Circuit ruling on hold while the high court decided whether to take up Teva’s appeal.

The case is Teva v. Sandoz, 13-854.

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