Federal court backs patent protecting Eli Lilly cancer drug

FILE - This Tuesday, July 17, 2012, photo shows the Eli Lilly corporate headquarters in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Shares of Eli Lilly rose Wednesday after the drugmaker said a federal court upheld a patent protecting one of its top-selling drugs, the cancer treatment Alimta.

The Indianapolis company said Tuesday after markets closed that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana ruled in Lilly’s favor regarding the infringement of a vitamin regimen patent for Alimta. The defendant in the case was a subsidiary of the generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.

The patent protects Alimta from competitors until May, 2022, and covers the administration of folic acid and vitamin B12 before and during treatment. Alimta is approved to treat patients with forms of advanced, non-small cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma, a type of cancer linked to asbestos exposure.

Lilly’s U.S. patent protecting Alimta’s chemical makeup expires in early 2017.

In June, a British court also upheld the patent protecting the vitamin regimen.

Alimta has generated $1.24 billion in revenue through the first two quarters of this year. The drug rang up $2.79 billion in global sales last year.

Eli Lilly and Co. shares rose $1.71, or 2.2 percent, to $79.97 in morning trading Wednesday. Its shares have risen about 15 percent so far this year.

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