* U.S. court rules against Pulmicort Repsules patent
* Decision a victory for generic drugmaker Actavis
LONDON, April 2 AstraZeneca has suffered
a fresh patent setback with a U.S. court decision that a patent
protecting its Pulmicort Repsules asthma treatment is invalid,
clearing the way for a generic copy from Actavis.
The ruling comes as AstraZeneca is already facing a big fall
in sales due to patent expiries on other medicines, prompting a
$2.3 billion restructuring plan and further job losses announced
by new CEO Pascal Soriot last month.
AstraZeneca said on Tuesday it strongly disagreed with the
court's decision and was considering next steps, including
lodging an appeal.
The District Court for the District of New Jersey ruled in
favour of Actavis, which has developed a generic version that it
now intends to launch immediately.
The verdict will not change AstraZeneca's revenue guidance
for 2013, which is that the company anticipates a mid to
high-single digit decline in sales.
But Britain's second-biggest drugmaker said additional
generics entering the U.S. market would materially impact
royalties received on sales of Teva's existing generic
version of Pulmicort Repsules. Teva already has a generic on the
market following an earlier deal with AstraZeneca.
Total branded and generic sales of Pulmicort Repsules were
around $1.2 billion in the United States in the 12 months to
January 2013, according to Actavis.