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Medicis takes Lupin to US court on patent charge

Joe C Mathew  |  New Delhi 

Alleges infringement of patent for dermatology medicine.

US-based Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation has filed a case in a US court against Indian drugmaker Lupin, alleging the latter has infringed its patent in applying for marketing approval for a dermatology medicine.

The case, filed on November 17, comes days after another domestic drug maker, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, announced an out-of-court patent litigation settlement deal with Medicis for a derma drug.

Patent challenges by Indian are in the form of applications for marketing approvals in the US, the world’s largest drug market, for generic versions of products under patent protection.

Lupin’s patent litigations in US courts in 2009

suing Lupin

January 16 Sciele Pharma
March 5 Genzyme 
March 6 Elan Pharma 
March 20 Sepracor 
April 30 Pfizer
May 14 Genzyme 
October 6 Teva
October 21  Astrazeneca
November 17 Medicis

While the company said it doesn’t comment on any ‘ongoing litigations’, official sources said Medicis is attempting to get a stay order that prevents Lupin from introducing low-cost versions of Solodyn, the pimple treatment antibiotic, in the US market.

According to sources, the complaint, filed in a federal court in Maryland, sought to prevent Lupin from entering the market with its own generic version until patent expiry in 2013.

Skin care medicines accounted for $325 million, almost two-thirds of all sales, for Medicis last year, they added.

Dermatology is a new segment for Lupin in the US market. “Lupin has always had a strategic focus on addressing niche therapy areas, developing differentiated and difficult-to-develop control-release products for the US and Europe. The company is keenly aiming at new therapeutic segments such as dermatology, oral contraceptives and ophthalmology, and intends to enter the US market with these products within two years,” sources added.

Lupin is the largest Indian generic player in the US market and is fast growing generic player among top 10

“Nine out of our 22 generic products in the market are ranked number one in terms of market share and 19 of these products are in the top-here ranking,” Lupin official said.

Unlike Lupin’s aggressive patent litigation strategy, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and its generic subsidiary,Glenmark Generics,had announced a patent settlement transaction which saw Medicis pay $5 million to Glenmark as part of a joint product development deal in the dermatology segment. Glenmark has also been made the authorised generic drug maker of one of Medicis’ skin care products.

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First Published: Mon, November 23 2009. 00:59 IST