PARIS, April 10 A U.S. court has ruled that two
patents covering Sanofi's Taxotere cancer treatment
are invalid, confirming a 2010 ruling that helped pave the
launch of generic versions of the drug.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Monday
upheld a lower court finding that the two patents were invalid
and unenforceable because the invention was obvious and the
French drugmaker obtained the patents improperly.
Sanofi first sued generic drugmakers Hospira and
Apotex Inc in 2008 for infringing the two patents.
Hospira and Apotex had sought approval from regulators to
make a generic injectable form of docetaxel, the active
ingredient in Taxotere.
The French drugmaker said in a statement that it was
disappointed by the latest ruling and that it was evaluating its
Sanofi sells Taxotere in more than 100 countries to treat
lung, prostate, gastric and head and neck cancer, but sales of
the product have been dented by competition from cheaper generic
copies in the key U.S. market and in western Europe.
In 2011, Taxotere generated sales of 922 million euros
($1.21 billion), down 57 percent from the previous year.