Teva Pharmaceutical's Multiple Sclerosis Drug Patent Case Rejected

Teva loses patent infringement litigations for Copaxone.

The US District Court in Delaware rejected 4 claims of patent infringement from Teva Pharmaceutical for its blockbuster multiple sclerosis (MS) drug Copaxone, ruling the claim is invalid.

The patents cover the 40-mg/mL injection of Copaxone that was approved in March 2014. The drug reduces the frequency of injection of a daily formulation of 20 mg/mL to 3 times per week, according to philly.com.

Teva will most likely request a preliminary injunction to prevent the launch of a generic version until legal decisions are resolved on all of the company’s outstanding patents, philly.com reported.

In addition to the 4 patent infringement ligations in Delaware, Teva also is suing potential competitors on a fifth and sixth patent.

In a client note, Credit Suisse analyst Vamil Divan said he believes Novartis and its partner Momenta Pharmaceuticals, as well as one other potential competitor, will launch a generic version later this year, according to the report. These launches could result in pricing pressure on Teva.

The original Copaxone was approved in December 1996, however, patents asserted against generic competitors for the 40 mg/mL version were issued several years after the initial drug patent.

Following the ruling, Teva shares fell 9% in after-hours trading on Monday, but bounced back Tuesday, philly.com reported. The stock closed down 3%, dropping $1.09 to $33.43.

If there are no new generic competitors, Teva expects sales for Copaxone to total $3.8 to $3.9 billion in 2017.