IVAX to Get Patent for Oral Paclitaxel
Reuters, June 8, 2001

NEW YORK--Generic drug maker IVAX Corp. (IVX.A) said on Friday that U.S. regulators would issue the firm a patent covering the oral form of widely used cancer drug paclitaxel, which is normally administered through injection.

IVAX has been selling paclitaxel in the injected form since the fall of 2000, when Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s (BMY.N) exclusivity over the drug ended after a lengthy court battle between the two firms.

IVAX is testing the oral formulation in patients with non-small cell lung cancer, breast cancer and stomach cancer. The tests are currently in the Phase II stage, but IVAX said it expects to expand the program to include Phase III trials, typically the last stage before submitting an application for approval.

The patent, which will be "allowed" by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, covers "formulations and methods that make it possible to administer orally therapeutic agents such as paclitaxel and other agents that are normally administered by injection or infusion," IVAX said.

Bristol-Myers sells paclitaxel under the brand name Taxol and generated sales of $1.59 billion from the drug last year, making it the top-selling cancer treatment.

IVAX sold about $85 million of the drug in its first two quarters marketing its generic version, called Onxol.

A spokesman for IVAX said the patent strengthens the company's portfolio of cancer patents.

Shares of IVAX were up $1.40, or 3.77 percent, to $38.50 on the American Stock Exchange in Friday midday trading.

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