US Supreme Court rejects Teva's request for stay in Copaxone patent case

A US Supreme Court justice declined a request from Teva for a stay of an appeals court ruling made earlier this year that shortened patent protection on Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) from September 2015 to May 2014. The drugmaker had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the ruling while it prepares to file a petition seeking the high court's review.

Teva said in court filings that it would suffer "irreparable injury" if the lower court ruling remained in effect. The company noted that even if the court were to take up the appeal, a review wouldn’t take place until the nine-month term that starts in October 2014. "Because the key Teva patent that the Federal Circuit invalidated will expire in September 2015, proceedings on the merits in this court could easily consume most of the remaining life of the patent," Teva argued.

Companies challenging patents on Copaxone, including Momenta Pharmaceuticals, Novartis' Sandoz unit, Mylan and Natco Pharma, said the case would have been eligible for the court’s current calendar had Teva moved more quickly after the earlier appeals court decision. The drugmakers added that competition "would greatly benefit multiple sclerosis patients, who pay about $40,000 per year for Copaxone."

Copaxone generates annual global sales of more than $4 billion, including revenue of $2.2 billion in the US.

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