Allergan’s Patents on Eyelash Growth Drug Invalid: Court

Allergan Inc., maker of the Botox wrinkle treatment, lost an appeals court ruling that will let generic versions of its Latisse eyelash drug enter the market.

Two Latisse patents owned by Allergan and Duke University are invalid, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington said in an opinion posted on its website today. The court threw out an order preventing Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit, Actavis Plc and Apotex Inc. from selling copycat versions.

Latisse is a variation of Allergan’s Lumigan drug that is used to treat glaucoma. The patents, which expire in 2022 and 2024, cover ways to apply the chemical compound to promote eyelash growth. The idea for the application came after researchers found that “eyelash growth was a known potential side effect” of glaucoma treatments, the court ruled.

In May, Allergan estimated that Latisse sales would reach $100 million to $110 million this year. The Irvine, California-based company today said it has rejected a $54 billion takeover bid from Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc., saying it was too low.

Allergan shares fell less than 1 percent to $163.09 at 4 p.m. in New York trading. The shares have risen 63 percent in the past 12 months.

A key patent on some forms of Lumigan expires in August while Allergan won a lawsuit in January involving a formulation for the 0.01 percent solution that will keep that specific version off the market through 2027. Sandoz and other generic-drug makers are appealing the Lumigan decision.

The case is Allergan Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 13-1245, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Washington). The lower court ruling in Allergan Inc. v. Apotex Inc., 10cv681, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina.

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