Amgen says court blocks rival Roche anemia drug

AP News
Posted: Dec 22, 2009 6:39 PM

Swiss drugmaker Roche will not be allowed to sell its anemia drug Mircera in the U.S. until July 2014 under terms of a settlement with Amgen Inc., the companies said Tuesday.

Amgen said a U.S. District Court in Boston ruled that Mircera infringes on five patents supporting Amgen's anemia drugs Aranesp and Epogen. Roche acknowledged the patents are valid, and won't be able to start selling Mircera in the U.S. until July 1, 2014. The court entered a final judgment and a permanent injunction against Roche.

Amgen said the settlement does not include any payments between the companies. Roche said the litigation has been dismissed with prejudice.

Aranesp and Epogen are used to treat anemia patients receiving chemotherapy, and patients undergoing kidney dialysis. The patents relate to genetically engineered erythropoietin, which stimulates the production of red blood cells, and the process used in making the hormone.

In the third quarter, the Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based company reported $685 million in Aranesp sales, and $663 million in Epogen sales. Aranesp revenue has been in decline since 2008 due to safety concerns, which led to stronger warnings on its label.

Amgen shares rose 49 cents to close at $57.22.