By Phil Milford
Nov. 20, 2006 (Bloomberg) — Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drugmaker, asked a jury to affirm the validity of a patent for the chemotherapy drug Idamycin at the start of a trial of its lawsuit against a unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
Pfizer’s Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. sued in Delaware in 2004, claiming Teva’s Sicor Inc. infringed the patent. Sicor agreed before the trial that it used Pharmacia’s technology and claims the invention is obvious, invalidating the patent.
The ready-to-use injectable Idamycin solution is “neither novel science nor a response to any long-felt need,” Sicor lawyer Reid Ashinoff, of New York’s Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, said in his opening statement in federal court in Wilmington, Delaware.
The jury must first decide whether the patent is valid. If it is, they may have to decide how much in damages Pharmacia deserves in a second phase of the trial, being supervised by U.S. District Judge Kent A. Jordan. Pfizer hasn’t said how much it wants in damages.
“This was an advance in the art,” and Sicor “couldn’t resist the enticement” to produce a generic copy, Pharmacia lawyer Daniel Boehnen, of McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff in Chicago, told jurors.
Pfizer bought Pharmacia in 2003 for $58 billion and Teva bought Sicor the following year for $3.1 billion. Pfizer had $8.1 billion in net income on $51.3 billion in sales last year. Boehnen told the jury it costs Pharmacia and affiliates about $800 million to bring a new drug to market.
Pfizer spokesman Bryant Haskins said Pfizer doesn’t report sales figures for smaller drugs such as Idamycin.
Shares of Pfizer fell 16 cents to $27.05 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading at 4:24 p.m. American depositary receipts of Petah Tikva, Israel-based Teva, each representing one ordinary share, rose 55 cents to $31.73 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading.
The case is Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. v. Sicor Inc., No. 04-833, U.S. District Court, Delaware (Wilmington).
To contact the reporter on this story: Phil Milford in Wilmington, Delaware at email@example.com
Last Updated: November 20, 2006 17:56 EST
© 2006 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.