March 12 A U.S. court ruled invalid a patent
covering Pfizer Inc's blockbuster Celebrex painkiller,
the drugmaker said, giving generic rivals an earlier U.S. entry
that analysts estimated could cost the company $3 billion in
revenue by the end of 2015.
Pfizer shares closed down 1.4 percent on the New York Stock
Pfizer said it would appeal the ruling, made by the U.S.
District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which
invalidated a patent covering how Celebrex is administered to
Celebrex has annual global sales of about $3 billion,
including $2 billion in the United States. It is the
fourth-biggest product for Pfizer, which has total annual
company sales of about $52 billion.
Pfizer, in its full-year 2014 profit forecast, had assumed
Celebrex would maintain its U.S. marketing exclusivity through
December 2, 2015 based on the so-called method of use patent,
Morningstar analyst Damien Conover said.
He said the court's decision, if not overturned on appeal,
could cost Pfizer $1 billion in revenues this year and $2
billion next year.
Conover said he had been surprised by Pfizer's confidence in
the method of use patent, because they are rarely upheld by U.S.
courts. The drug's basic chemical patent lapses on May 30,
2014, and generic companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals Inc
and Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc have sought
approval to sell their cheaper versions at that point.
"It seems likely that odds are in favor of generics
launching early," Sanford Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson said in
a research note.