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Appeals Court Says Rituxan, Avastin Do Not Infringe Sanofi Patents

An appeals court on Thursday upheld a lower court's ruling that the cancer drugs Rituxan and Avastin of Swiss drug maker Roche Holding AG's (RHHBY.PK) Genentech unit and biotechnology firm Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB: Quote) do not infringe two patents of French drug maker Sanofi SA (SNY: Quote,SNYNF.PK).

Genentech's Avastin, which had sales of 5.29 billion Swiss francs in 2011, is a blockbuster drug for treatment of cancers related to colon, lung, kidney and brain. Rituxan had sales of 6.01 billion Swiss francs in 2011. Rituxan is currently co-marketed by Biogen Idec and Genentech in the U.S.

In a ruling posted on the court's website, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit said that Sanofi's '522 and '140 patents were not infringed by Genentech and Biogen. The court ruled that the district court had not erred in its judgment.

In October 2008, Sanofi filed a lawsuit for infringement of the two patents, alleging that Genentech and Biogen made use of an infringing enhancer in producing the antibody-based drugs Rituxan and Avastin.

SNY closed Thursday's trading at $38.45, down $0.23 or 0.59 percent on a volume of 1.86 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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