Pfizer Inc. (PFE) Shares Halted, Drug Maker Loses Patent Fight

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Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) has announced that it will file an appeal on the court decision regarding the reissue of its patent for the arthritis drug Celebrex. The drug maker announced today in a press release that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia granted a summary judgment regarding its patent for Celebrex. That judgment invalided the reissue patent for the drug.

Pfizer disagrees with ruling

Of course Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) will appeal that decision. A trial on that case was scheduled to start March 19 regarding infringement of the reissue patent. Pfizer had sued several makers of generic drugs. Included in that lawsuit are: Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ADR) (NYSE:TEVA); Mylan Inc (NASDAQ:MYL); Watson Laboratories; Lupin Pharmaceuticals; and Apotex.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) said all of the generic drug makers filed an abbreviated new drug application with the Food and Drug Administration. They were trying to get approval to market a generic version of Celebrex in the U.S. starting on May 30. That’s when Pfizer’s compound patent, which includes the six-month pediatric exclusivity period, will expire. That is 18 months before the Dec. 2, 2015 expiration date of the reissue patent.

Pfizer relies on Celebrex for earnings

As recently as the second quarter, Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE) reported gains in sales of Celebrex, which is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. It has also been used for management of acute pain. In the earnings report which was released in October, Pfizer reported that sales of Celebrex rose 13%, so the loss of a patent reissue on the popular drug would be a blow to the drug maker.

Nonetheless, shares of Pfizer Inc (NYSE:PFE) were little affected by the news about the judgement regarding the loss of the Celebrex reissue patent. Shares declined by about 1% in late afternoon trading.

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