A US Supreme Court justice on Wednesday declined a request from Teva Pharmaceutical Industries for a stay of an appeals court ruling that would strip the company's $4 billion-a-year multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone of patent protection in 2014, rather than in 2015.
In July, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a decision in a patent fight that pits Teva against two teams developing cheaper generic forms of Copaxone: one with Novartis AG and Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc ; and another between Mylan Inc and Natco Pharma Ltd .
Copaxone accounts for about 20 percent of sales and some 50 percent of Teva's profit. The company is banking on U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of a longer-lasting version in early 2014 of the MS drug that would be injected three times a week, with the company aiming to move patients taking its current daily drug to the new offering.
The appearance of cheaper generic versions of Copaxone before that would give Teva far less time to switch patients to the newer drug before generics of the original become an option.
Teva had asked Chief Justice John Roberts to stay the ruling while the company prepares to file a petition seeking the high court's review. The court announced on Wednesday that Roberts rejected the request and did not provide further explanation.