Europe Strips AstraZeneca Of Key Nexium Patent

Law360, New York (December 19, 2006, 12:00 AM EST) -- In a major setback for AstraZeneca PLC, the European Patent Office has rejected a key substance-of-matter patent covering the pharmaceutical company’s blockbuster heartburn drug Nexium.

The EPO said Tuesday that it revoked the patent, which was not set to expire until 2014, following an appeal from the private German generic manufacturer Ratiopharm International GmbH. The patent had guarded the heartburn and antiulcerant medication from less expensive generic versions.

The EPO considered the validity of Nexium’s patent, which covers a slightly revised form, or enantiomer, of another...
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