PHARMACY

Sanofi-Aventis sues Apotex for patent infringement

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK Sanofi-Aventis alleges that Canadian drug maker Apotex infringed on two of its United States patents for one of its drugs, according to a lawsuit filed in a federal court in Wilmington, Del., Friday.

The suit concerns the injected cancer drug docetaxel, which Sanofi-Aventis markets under the brand name Taxotere. Sanofi-Aventis says Apotex has violated the patents by planning to sell a generic version of a drug before their 2012 expiration.

Taxotere had sales of $750.3 million euros in the second quarter of this year, according to Bloomberg.

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ImClone to pay $17.5 million to Abbott in Erbitux settlement

BY Drew Buono

BOSTON ImClone Systems, manufacturer of the cancer drug Erbitux, has agreed to pay Abbott Laboratories $17.5 million to end a patent-infringement lawsuit over the medicine, according to Bloomberg.

The companies said in an Aug. 4 notice to U.S. District Judge Richard Stearns in Boston that they had reached a “confidential settlement.” Stearns put the case on hold so the companies can finish the paperwork on the agreement.

Abbott sued ImClone last year, claiming its patented method for creating antibodies is infringed by Erbitux. In May, ImClone filed a lawsuit accusing Abbott of withholding information that could have been used by ImClone to defend itself against a patent suit by Repligen. ImClone paid $65 million to end that case.

“We have reached an agreement in principle that would conclude all outstanding litigation with ImClone,” said Abbott spokesman Scott Stoffel.

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FDA warns about muscle damage from drug combo

BY Alaric DeArment

WASHINGTON Combining some heart drugs could cause muscular damage, Reuters reported the Food and Drug Administration as warning.

The FDA said it had received reports of the muscle injury rhabdomyolysis, which can cause kidney failure or death, related to combining the cholesterol drug simvastatin and the arrythmia drug amiodarone. The agency issued a warning about the risks of combining the drugs in 2002.

All statin drugs have the risk of causing rhabdomyolysis, but the risk becomes greater when simvastatin is combined with amiodarone.

Simvastatin is the active ingredient in Merck’s Simcor and Abbott Laboratories’ Zocor, as well as an ingredient in Merck’s and Schering-Plough’s Vytorin. Amiodarone is the active ingredient in Wyeth’s Cordarone and Upsher-Smith’s Pacerone.

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