Pfizer Sues Apotex Over Generic Version of Pain Drug Lyrica

Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, accused Apotex Inc. in a lawsuit of infringing two U.S. patents for the nerve-pain drug Lyrica.

Apotex, based in Toronto, plans to market a generic version of Lyrica before the newest patent expires in 2018, Pfizer said in a complaint filed July 8 in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware. Pfizer claimed it “will be substantially and irreparably harmed” by the alleged infringement.

Lyrica generated more than $800 million in sales in the first quarter for New York-based Pfizer, which is selling units and trimming jobs in preparation for pending loss of patent protection for its best-selling drug Lipitor, used to control cholesterol.

Elie Betito, a spokesman for closely held Apotex, didn’t immediately return voice and e-mail messages seeking comment on the filing.

Pfizer fell 3 cents to $20.13 at 9:44 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The shares gained 15 percent this year before today.

The case is Pfizer Inc. v. Apotex Inc., U.S. District Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

To see the patents, click: 6,197,819 and 5,563,175.

(Updates with excerpt from complaint in second paragraph.)
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