WASHINGTON, July 26 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries' multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone will lose its patent protection in 2014 rather than 2015 because of a ruling from a U.S. appeals court Friday.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued its decision in a patent fight between Teva and rivals Sandoz and Mylan Inc.
The result is that a generic version of Copaxone can be launched in May 2014, a year early.
"We are very pleased with today's ruling and we expect that it will allow Mylan to launch its generic version of Copaxone on May 25, 2014," Mylan Chief Executive Heather Bresch said in a statement.
Teva and Sandoz did not immediately comment on the ruling.
Both Sandoz, a generic division of Novartis, and Mylan had notified the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that they wanted to bring out generic versions of Copaxone. Teva sued to block them and protect its patents.
Patents on Copaxone, which accounts for about 20 percent of Teva's sales and about 50 percent of its profit, had been set to expire in September 2015.