WASHINGTON Dec 19 The drug company AstraZeneca
PLC lost a bid on Thursday to defend its widely
used heartburn drug Nexium when an appeals court ruled that a
new drug from Hanmi Pharmaceuticals did not infringe on Nexium
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a
lower court's ruling that Hanmi did not infringe on
AstraZeneca's patent since the South Korean company uses
different salts in making its products.
The company was disappointed in the appeals court decision.
"AstraZeneca respectfully disagrees with the court's
decision. We are reviewing the opinion and considering our
options, including further appeal," a spokeswoman said in an
Any appeal would go to the U.S. Supreme Court.
The Federal Circuit issued an injunction against the Hanmi
drug in August, but lifted it in September, AstraZeneca said
earlier this week. Hanmi has won FDA approval for the drug,
Britain's second-biggest drugmaker had accused Hanmi of
patent infringement by developing the rival drug, which is not
chemically identical to Nexium and would not be automatically
substitutable for Nexium at pharmacies, AstraZeneca said.
Nexium is set to lose U.S. patent protection in 2014.
AstraZeneca said earlier this week that the outcome of the
decision would have no impact on the company's full-year 2013
AstraZeneca shares closed up 1.1 percent in London on
Thursday. Its U.S.-listed shares were down 0.4 percent at $58.61
on the New York Stock Exchange in Thursday afternoon trading.