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2 Sanofi drug patents invalidated

WASHINGTON - Sanofi’s two patents on the cancer drug Taxotere were ruled invalid and unenforceable by a federal court Monday in a victory for two makers of generic drugs, Hospira Inc. and Apotex Inc.

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit upheld a lower court finding on the two patents.

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Taxotere, the successor to the cancer drug Taxol, generated $1.2 billion last year for Paris-based Sanofi. That was a 57 percent drop from the year before because of generic-drug competition, Sanofi said Feb. 8.

The Federal Circuit, which specializes in patent cases, said a judge was correct to rule the two patents were obvious variations of earlier research, and that the inventor misled the Patent and Trademark Office to obtain the patents by withholding that earlier know-how.

Sanofi is evaluating its legal options, a spokeswoman said. Hospira said that it was pleased with the decision.

“Hospira is committed to continuing to provide US cancer patients with high-quality, lower-cost alternatives,’’ said a spokesman.

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