Bristol-Myers Squibb Patents Nixed
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) _ A pretrial ruling Wednesday by a federal judge invalidated some patent claims made by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. in its lawsuit seeking to block nine drug companies from marketing a generic form of its anticancer drug Taxol.
The decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Walls granted some of the motions made by five of the generic companies, but denied their bid to dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed in 1997.
A trial is scheduled here in May, which Walls said could determine the validity of the patent claims on Taxol’s use against ovarian cancer.
Bristol-Myers stock finished down 10 percent, or $5.93 3/4, to $51.31 1/4 on the New York Stock Exchange.
New York-based Bristol-Myers is considering whether to appeal, company spokeswoman Jane Kramer said.
The company said that regardless of the ruling and outcome of the trial, it can still sell Taxol for all approved uses. It is approved for treating ovarian cancer, breast cancer, a form of lung cancer and Kaposi’s sarcoma, Kramer said.
``Right now, we believe that the generics have not obtained FDA approval to market generic Taxol for any indication, and there are a number of things that generics must accomplish before marketing,″ Kramer said.
One of the generic drug makers sued by Bristol-Myers is Ivax Corp. of Miami. Its president, Neil Flanzraich said, ``The judge’s ruling today not only invalidates a substantial majority of the patent claims asserted by Bristol-Myers Squibb, but has framed the issues for trial on the remaining ovarian-related patent claims in a way that gives us even greater confidence going forward.″
Ivax stock was up nearly 19 percent, or $4.25, to $27 on the American Stock Exchange.