Teva drops 2.5% after US jury rule

Jury decides Teva's rival firms have valid patents for heartburn drug Protonix.

Teva 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Teva 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. dropped the most in three months after a US federal jury ruled that Pfizer Inc and Altana AG have valid patents for the heartburn drug Protonix.
The shares fell 2.5 percent on Sunday, the most since January 24, to close at NIS 226.3 in Tel Aviv.
The federal jury in Newark, New Jersey, on Friday rejected arguments by Teva and Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. that the patent covered an obvious variation of earlier patented compounds in the same family as Protonix. Pfizer can now ask US District Judge Jose Linares to order Teva and Sun to stop selling the drug until the patent expires in January.
“Teva made an at-risk launch of its generic version of Protonix inDecember 2007,” Natalie Gotlieb, an analyst at Israel Brokerage andInvestments Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said in an e-mail note Sunday. “A companywith an at-risk launch that has been disqualified by the courts canoften be ordered to pay up to three times the profit lost to the brandmanufacturer while the generic version was being marketed.”
Teva and Sun conceded they had infringed the patent, which left thejury with only the question of whether the patent was issued properly.Teva, in a statement, said it could make additional invalidityarguments to Linares.
A second trial will be held to determine what New York-based Pfizershould be paid for profit lost since Teva and Sun began selling cheaperversions of the drug two years ago.
Protonix sales reached $1.9 billion in 2007, and then fell 58% to $806million in 2008, after Petah Tikva-based Teva began selling its genericversion. Mumbai-based Sun entered the market in January 2008, a monthafter Teva.