* Roche admits Mircera infringes Amgen patents
* Under deal, Roche can sell Mircera in U.S. in mid-2014
* No financial payments involved in settlement
NEW YORK, Dec 22 (Reuters) - A U.S. court ruled that Roche Holding's ROG.VX anemia drug Mircera infringes Amgen Inc AMGN.O patents and entered a permanent injunction preventing the Swiss drugmaker from selling its medicine in the United States, Amgen said on Tuesday.
The decision ended a five-year patent dispute between the two companies over the red blood cell-boosting medicines and assured that Amgen’s top-selling Aranesp will not face U.S. competition any time soon.
The judgment in U.S. District Court in Boston was accompanied by Roche’s admission that the Amgen patents involved in the lawsuit are valid, enforceable and infringed by Roche’s pegylated-erythropoietin (peg-EPO) product, Mircera, which is available in Europe.
Under terms of a limited license agreement between the companies, Roche will be allowed to begin selling Mircera in the United States in mid-2014, Amgen said.
The settlement terms do not include any financial payments between the parties, Amgen said.
Amgen has been struggling with declining Aranesp sales over the past two years due to safety concerns and reimbursement restrictions. But it remains a very important product for the world’s largest biotechnology company.
Aranesp worldwide sales fell 19 percent in the third quarter to $685 million.
The court decision and settlement removes the uncertainty of potential competition further damaging sales.
Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Richard Chang
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