(Adds AstraZeneca comment, amends slug for media clients)
TEL AVIV, Sept 3 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries
said Britain's High Court had handed down a positive
judgment regarding its case against a patent for AstraZeneca's
Symbicort lung drug.
Israel-based Teva said it had already launched its
dry powder inhaler, DuoResp Spiromax, in Britain on Monday -
before the court ruling - but the verdict minimised any risks
associated with the launch.
AstraZeneca said in a statement it disagreed with the ruling
and would seek leave to appeal.
Teva's version of the drug has already been launched in
Germany, Denmark and Portugal and the British court ruling will
facilitate its sale in other European markets, the Israeli
company said on Wednesday.
A spokesman added the inhaler would be a "significant"
product for the company, but did not give any numbers.
Symbicort is AstraZeneca's third-biggest selling drug, with
worldwide sales of just under $1.9 billion in the first half of
While Teva's product uses the same active ingredients as
Symbicort, formoterol and budesonide, the inhalers differ in
AstraZeneca's Turbuhaler device has been granted a patent
protecting it until 2019 in Europe and the company hopes this
will help it retain sales in the face of cheaper generics, since
doctors may be reluctant to switch patients to other devices.
(Reporting by Tova Cohen and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Pravin