Home >Companies >News >Natco Pharma gains as much as 13% as Teva denied stay in patent fight

Washington: Natco Pharma Ltd surged as much as 13% after US Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts denied a request by Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd to stay a lower-court ruling in a patent case that favoured the developers of generic versions of Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug.

The decision could help pave the way for generic competitors of Teva’s Copaxone drug, including Natco, to go on the market soon.

Natco Pharma shares, however, shed some gains to close 7.5% higher at 769.35 apiece on BSE on Monday, while the benchmark S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.60% to 22,764.83.

“The Supreme Court of US has denied Teva’s request for an injunction relating to generic Copaxone clearing legal hurdle for Mylan and Natco to launch the same in that market," Natco informed the stock exchanges on Monday.

Teva had sought to prevent the lower-court ruling from going into effect while the Supreme Court considers its appeal in the patent fight.

In the first week of April, Natco shares fell the most on BSE after negative sentiments were triggered by the US Supreme Court’s decision to hear the generic drug maker Teva’s appeal on the earlier court order.

At issue is a July 2013 ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in favour of two teams developing cheaper generic forms of Copaxone: one comprising Novartis AG’s Sandoz Inc. and Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc., and the other comprising Mylan Inc. and Natco Pharma.

In his decision on Friday, Roberts, in a brief opinion, wrote that he was not convinced Teva had shown the “likelihood of irreparable harm" if the application was denied, because if Teva wins the Supreme Court case it can seek damages from the generic companies for past infringement on its patents.

Teva still has the option of asking another justice for a stay, but such requests are rarely granted.

The appeals court upheld some of the nine patents involved in Copaxone, or portions of them, but declared several invalid, meaning patent protections were set to expire in May 2014 instead of September 2015. The outcome of the legal fight therefore determines how soon the generic drugs can go on sale.

The Supreme Court will not hear oral arguments in the Teva case until its 2014 term begins in October. A ruling could come as late as June 2015, which is why Teva sought to stay the lower court decision. Reuters

C.H. Unnikrishnan of Mint contributed to this story.

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