Barr Wins Piece of Allegra Patent Case

Barr Pharmaceuticals ( BRL) shares rose 1.7% after the company received good news in its patent-dispute battle to make a generic version of Aventis' ( AVE) Allegra allergy drug.

The U.S. District Court of New Jersey issued a summary judgment that said Barr didn't infringe three patents related to Aventis' blockbuster treatment. While the move clears away some of the patents involved in lawsuits filed by Aventis and AMT Technology to block Barr's generic version, five patents remain pending in the litigation, with another two asserted by the companies in a case filed three months ago.

In reaction to the news, Barr rose 57 cents to $34.27, while Aventis rose 13 cents, or 0.2%, to $76.20.

"We are very pleased with the positive momentum of our Allegra patent challenge, as we continue our progress toward a trial," said Bruce Downey, chairman and CEO of Barr. "We are committed to bringing this litigation to a successful conclusion."

The court has not yet set a date for the trial to begin, but Barr said the cases would likely be ready for trial next year at this time.

At the center of the lawsuits is whether Barr was the first company to file an abbreviated new drug application to make generic versions of Allegra. In reaction to Barr's ANDAs, which were filed in the summer and fall of 2001, Aventis sued to block approval until various patents expired, the last of which happens in 2018.

A lot of money is at stake in the Allegra patent dispute. Allerga has $1.5 billion in annual sales, with Allegra-D accounting for another $450 million.

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