AstraZeneca share price inches lower as US court deals patent blow

on Feb 16, 2015
Updated: Oct 21, 2019

A US federal judge has ruled that AstraZeneca Plc’s (LON:AZN) patent on its Pulmicort Repsules treatment for asthma is invalid, the blue-chip drugmaker has said. The ruling is expected to open up the US market to cheaper generic versions of the treatment.

As of 08:56 GMT, AstraZeneca’s share price had lost 0.96 percent to 4,507.50p. The shares have added some 11 percent over the past year.
AstraZeneca said in a statement this morning that the US District Court for the District of New Jersey had ruled that the patent protecting the company’s Pulmicort Repsules asthma drug in the country was invalid. The Anglo-Swedish pharma group had previously filed lawsuits against several companies for infringement of US patents directed to methods of use and formulation and form of the active ingredient for the drug.

“AstraZeneca strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision,” Paul Hudson, president of AstraZeneca’s US unit, said in the statement, adding that the company was reviewing the decision and considering its legal options, including an appeal.
The Anglo-Swedish company noted that the decision was limited to the US and would have no impact on the validity of patents related to the drug elsewhere. AstraZeneca also assured investors that the ruling would not impact the drugmaker’s earnings and revenue guidance for the current year.

On Friday, rival Actavis Plc (NYSE:ACT) launched a generic version of Pulmicort Repsules, referring to the US court ruling in a statement. The Dublin-based drugmaker noted that for the 12 months ended June 30, 2014, total brand and generic sales of the drug in the US were approximately $1.1 billion (£714 million). Under agreement with AstraZeneca, Teva Pharmaceutical (TLV:TEVA) has a generic Pulmicort Repsules product in the market.
As of 09:43 GMT, Monday, 16 February, AstraZeneca plc share price is 4,507.50p.

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