(Reuters) – A U.S. judge on Friday upheld two patents relating to Amgen Inc’s blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel, denying a challenge by Novartis AG, which is seeking to launch a copycat version.
The decision was a relief to investors concerned about a competitive threat to Enbrel, which had U.S. sales of $4.8 billion last year. Shares of Amgen closed up about 6% at $196.25 after the ruling.
“This is a key overhang removed,” Jefferies analyst Michael Yee said in a research note. “While an (expedited) appeal is in place and expected, we believe the worst-case fear is now gone.”
U.S. District Judge Claire Cecchi in Newark, New Jersey, rejected arguments by Novartis’ Sandoz unit that the patents covering Enbrel’s active ingredient until 2029 should not have been granted because their concepts were already contained in previous patents.
Enbrel has been on the U.S. market since 1998. It was developed by Immunex, which Amgen acquired in 2002.
Novartis said it…
Source news reuters.com, click here to read the full news.