AstraZeneca settles patent dispute over Crohn’s drug

City A.M. Reporter
ASTRAZENECA has settled a US patent dispute with Teva Pharmaceuticals by allowing the company to sell a generic version of Astra’s Entocort EC drug for Crohn’s disease from 2012.

Teva has received a licence to enter the US market with its generic version of the capsules, which contain the active ingredient budesonide, from 15 February 2012, subject to regulatory approval.

Other terms of the settlement were not disclosed, but Astra said yesterday Teva had conceded that patents protecting Entocort EC were valid and enforceable.

The settlement will benefit Astra, although Entocort EC is not a major seller with global sales last year of around $100m (£69m) – equivalent to about 0.3 per cent of the group revenue.

AstraZeneca shares were flat, in line with an broadly unchanged European healthcare sector.

Merck, which has had a longstanding relationship with Astra entitling it to a royalty on US sales of certain Astra drugs, has also entered into the settlement agreement. AstraZeneca employs more than 66,000 staff across the world, but it is in the process of massive job cuts as part of wider cost reductions.