PARIS Feb 28 French pharmaceutical company
Sanofi has filed a lawsuit against Actavis
over alleged patent infringements on its heart drug Multaq,
hindering the generic drugmaker's plans to produce its own
version of the drug.
Multaq, also known as dronedarone, is prescribed in patients
suffering from irregular heartbeat and the main patent on the
drug is due to expire in July 2016. Multaq generated sales of
269 million euros ($368 million) last year, up 8.2 percent from
2012, according to Sanofi's website.
Actavis said in a statement on Friday it had filed an
application with the Food and Drug Administration to have its
generic version of Multaq approved in the United States, but
that Sanofi had filed a suit on Wednesday in the U.S. District
Court of Delaware.
The suit alleges infringement of three U.S. patents on
Multaq, a Sanofi spokeswoman said, giving no further details.
The suit automatically triggered a stay of approval by the
FDA, keeping the generic product off the U.S. market until Jan
1, 2017, or until the matter is solved in court, Actavis said.
The news comes just a month after Sanofi sued U.S company
Eli Lilly for allegedly infringing several patents on
its top-selling diabetes drug Lantus. The suit should keep
Lilly's biosimilar version off U.S. shelves until mid-2016, more
than a year later than its initially expected launch date.
Generic competition cut 1.25 billion euros from Sanofi's
sales last year but the drugmaker has been overhauling its
research in an effort to produce new, harder-to-copy biologic
drugs in the coming years.
To read Actavis' statement: