A US court has ruled in favour of pharma major Ranbaxy in one of the two cases challenging two key atorvastatin patents held by Pfizer.
Atorvastatin is a cholesterol-lowering drug, marketed by US-based Pfizer as Lipitor. It is the largest-selling drug in the world with estimated annual sales in the US of $8.5 billion.
"CAFC (US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit) sided with Ranbaxy by invalidating one of Pfizer's atorvastatin patents - US Patent No 5,273,995 ('995) and overturning Delaware District Court judgement in that regard," Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd said in a statement on Thursday.
"However, CAFC affirmed the portion of the judgement, which held that Ranbaxy's product infringes Pfizer's US Patent No. 4,681,893 ('893). The ruling followed a hearing in the US CAFC, which took place May 4, 2006," the company statement said.
Ranbaxy is now weighing the options for fresh appeal as it is keen to tap the US market with its own cheaper generic drug.
"We are pleased by the court's decision on the '995 patent and are evaluating our options with respect to the '893 patent," said Jay R Deshmukh, senior vice president of global intellectual property for Ranbaxy.
The ruling in favour of Ranbaxy in patent '995 will allow the Indian company to bring forward the launch date of the generic drug to March 2010 from June 2011 with 180-day exclusivity in the US market.