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Stay Denied in Patent Fight Over M.S. Drug

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Supreme Court refused to let Teva Pharmaceuticals block generic drugmakers from entering the market before its patents on a multiple sclerosis drug expire.

Teva had requested the stay earlier this month, just after the justices took up the patent-infringement case over the $4.3 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate).

Teva, Yeda Research and Development, and other affiliates have lobbed infringement claims against Sandoz, Mylan and five other companies.

A federal judge in Manhattan ultimately found that the defendants had infringed various claims of nine Teva patents-in-suit, but the Federal Circuit gave the drugmakers some relief last year in finding a group of claims invalid for indefiniteness.

Teva's invalidated patent was due to expire on Sept. 1, 2015, but the Federal Circuit's ruling lets the generic drugmakers enter the market next month.

The Supreme Court refused Friday to recall and stay the Federal Circuit's mandate.

Though Teva has "shown a fair prospect of success on the merits," Chief Justice John Roberts said he was not convinced "that it has shown a likelihood of irreparable harm from denial of a stay."

"Respondents acknowledge that, should Teva prevail in this court and its patent be held valid, Teva will be able to recover damages from respondents for past patent in­fringement," Roberts added. "Given the availability of that remedy, the extraordinary relief that Teva seeks is unwarranted."

Teva is represented by William Jay of the Washington firm Goodwin Procter. Sandoz is represented by Morrison & Foerster attorney Deanne Maynard, and Mylan is represented by Eric Miller with Perkins Coie in Seattle.

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