Sanofi sues Sandoz for infringing cancer drug patent

WILMINGTON, Del., Oct 30 (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis SA SASY.PA asked a U.S. federal court to block a Novartis unit from selling a generic version of its cancer drug in the United States because it infringes a patent, according to court documents.

Sanofi asked the federal court in Delaware to find that an application filed by Sandoz, the generic business of Novartis NOVN.VX, would violate its patents for Taxotere, according to court documents filed on Thursday.

A spokeswoman for Novartis said the company does not comment on litigation.

Like other drugmakers facing major patent expirations over the next few years, Sanofi will take a huge hit to revenue when its Taxotere cancer drug and Plavix blood-clot treatment begin to face competition from cheap generics.

The case is: Aventis Pharma SA, Sanofi-Aventis US LLC v Sandoz Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 09-cv-00810. (Reporting by Tom Hals, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)