* U.S. judge finds PrandiMet patent invalid
* Unclear when or whether a generic will be launched
* U.S. sales of Prandin, PrandiMet $134 mln for 9 months
NEW YORK, Jan 19 (Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO) said on Wednesday it will appeal a U.S. court ruling that found the patent on its combination diabetes drug PrandiMet to be invalid, a ruling that could open the door to generic competition.
PrandiMet combines Novo’s Prandin, known chemically as repaglinide, with the widely used generic Type 2 diabetes drug metformin.
Judge Avern Cohn of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan found the U.S. patent covering the combination use of repaglinide and metformin for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes to be invalid and unenforceable.
It is unclear whether or when a generic version of Prandin or PrandiMet will be available in the U.S. market, Novo said.
“We are disappointed with today’s ruling. We believe that it is contrary to the evidence and we intend to appeal the ruling,” Novo’s Chief Financial Officer Jesper Brandgaard said in a statement.
The company, one of the world’s largest makers of insulin and diabetes products, said it was weighing its options for launching its appeal.
Prandin and PrandiMet had U.S. sales of $134 million for the first nine months of 2010. (Reporting by Bill Berkrot; editing by Andre Grenon)