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AstraZeneca wins trial over Zydus' proposed generic of diabetes drug

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  • Zydus loses bid to invalidate AstraZeneca patent
  • Zydus admitted infringement if patent valid
  • AstraZeneca made nearly $2 billion from Farxiga last year

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(Reuters) - AstraZeneca AB on Friday beat back generic drugmaker Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc's challenge in Delaware federal court to a patent covering its blockbuster diabetes drug Farxiga.

Following a four-day bench trial in May, U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews held the patent was valid, saying that the U.S. subsidiary of Indian pharmaceutical company Zydus Cadila failed to prove that the relevant parts of the drug patent were obvious and unpatentable.

Zydus challenged the patent's validity in response to patent infringement claims AstraZeneca brought over Zydus' proposed generic version of Farxiga, which made Cambridge, England- based AstraZeneca nearly $2 billion last fiscal year.

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AstraZeneca didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, nor did Zydus or its attorneys Michael Gaertner of Locke Lord and John Phillips of Phillips, McLaughlin & Hall. AstraZeneca's attorney Michael Kelly of McCarter & English declined to comment.

The patent covers the composition of Farxiga and a method for using it to treat diabetes.

Zydus admitted that its generic would infringe if the patent was valid, but argued that a combination of earlier publications disclosing similar compounds made it obvious.

The case is AstraZeneca AB v. Zydus Pharmaceuticals (USA) Inc, U.S. District Court for the District of Delaware, No. 1:18-cv-00664.

For AstraZeneca: Charles Lipsey of Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner; and Michael Kelly of McCarter & English

For Zydus: Michael Gaertner of Locke Lord; and John Phillips of Phillips, McLaughlin & Hall

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Blake Brittain reports on intellectual property law, including patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Reach him at blake.brittain@thomsonreuters.com

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