Teva wins reversal of U.S. jury's $235 million GSK drug patent verdict

(Reuters) - A federal judge on Wednesday overturned a U.S. jury’s verdict that required Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to pay GlaxoSmithKline Plc more than $235 million for infringing a patent covering its blood pressure drug Coreg.

A Teva Pharmaceutical Industries building is seen in Jerusalem December 14, 2017. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark in Wilmington, Delaware ruled that the evidence did not support the jury’s finding in June that Teva sales of a generic version of the drug caused doctors to infringe GSK’s patent.

The jury had awarded GSK $234.1 million in lost profits and said the drug company deserved an additional $1.4 million in royalties. It also had rejected Teva’s contention that the patent was invalid, a decision Stark did not overturn.

“We are disappointed with the judge’s decision and are reviewing our options,” British drugmaker GSK said in a statement.

Israel-based Teva declined to comment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Teva’s generic version of Coreg, or carvedilol, in 2007.

GSK had alleged that while Teva’s FDA application had a carve-out to address its use for treating chronic heart failure, which GSK said remained under patent, the generic drugmaker changed its label in 2011 to add that use.

GSK said that as a result, Teva caused doctors to infringe its patent by selling a generic version of the drug and marketing it as a substitute for Coreg.

But in his ruling on Wednesday, Stark said that the evidence did not support finding that Teva’s actions as opposed to other factors induced doctors into infringing the patent by prescribing generic carvedilol to treat chronic heart failure.

“Without proof of causation, which is an essential element of GSK’s action, a finding of inducement cannot stand,” Stark wrote.

The case is GlaxoSmithKline LLC et al v. Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Delaware, No. 14-cv-00878.

(The story corrects attribution of reversed corporate quotes in paragraphs 4 and 5)

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; editing by Susan Thomas and Diane Craft