UPDATE 1-U.S. court invalidates Sanofi’s Taxotere patents

* Ruling invalidates two patents

* Clears the way for generic competition by year-end
(Adds Sanofi comment in paragraph six, updates stock prices)

By Tom Hals

WILMINGTON, Del., Sept 28 (BestGrowthStock) – Two Sanofi-Aventis SA
(SASY.PA: ) patents on the cancer drug Taxotere were invalidated
by a U.S. court on Monday, clearing the way for Hospira Inc
(HSP.N: ) to launch a generic version by the end of the year.

Delaware District Court Judge Gregory Sleet ruled that the
Taxotere patents were invalid because the invention was obvious
and the French drugmaker obtained the patents improperly.

Sanofi sued Hospira and Canadian drugmaker Apotex Inc in
2007 for infringing two patents, issued in 1998, that protect
Taxotere.

Lake Forest, Illinois-based Hospira and Apotex had sought
approval from regulators to make a generic injectable form of
docetaxel, the active ingredient in Taxotere.

Taxotere is marketed in more than 100 countries to treat
lung, prostate, gastric and head and neck cancer.

A spokesman for Sanofi noted the ruling covers patents on
the formulation of Taxotere. The patent for the active
pharmaceutical ingredient remains in force until November and
was not part of the dispute.

“We’re obviously very pleased with the ruling,” Hospira
spokesman Dan Rosenberg said. He added that Hospira planned to
launch a competing generic in November.

Apotex did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

Shares of Sanofi were down 0.3 percent at 49.85 euros in
European trading. Hospira rose 1.7 percent to $58.08 on the New
York Stock Exchange at mid-afternoon.

The case is Aventis Pharma SA et al v Hospira Inc, U.S.
District Court, District of Delaware, No. 07-00721.
(Reporting by Tom Hals; Editing by John Wallace and Richard
Chang)

UPDATE 1-U.S. court invalidates Sanofi’s Taxotere patents