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King Pharma Seeks Rehearing

It will file a motion in its patent case for blood-pressure medication Altace.

King Pharmaceuticals (KG) said Wednesday after market close that it will file a motion for a rehearing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit following the court's decision yesterday on the patent for its top-selling drug, blood-pressure medication Altace.

On Tuesday the company said a court found patent claims behind the medication were invalid. A lower court had previously ruled in favor of King and

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, which co-market the drug, holding that Indian drugmaker Lupin's application for a generic version of Altace infringed on the drug's patent. However, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled in favor of Lupin, applying the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in the KSR International v. Teleflex U.S. case to invalidate the patent on the basis of obviousness.

Bristol, Tenn.-based King responded Wednesday by saying it believes this application of the law isn't consistent with other recent rulings of the Federal Circuit Court, and that it believes yesterday's decision relies on factual inaccuracies.

Altace sales made up $163 million of King's $467 million in net revenue during the second quarter. The patent in question is set to expire in October 2008, although analysts are speculating now that the generic version of the drug could be launched before the end of the year.

Earlier this year King announced positive results from a phase III clinical trial evaluating its Altace (ramipril) diuretic combination product, and it expects to file a new-drug application for the product in the second half of this year.

King's shares closed down 85 cents, or 6.4%, at $12.35 Wednesday.