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4-Traders Homepage  >  Equities  >  Nyse  >  Merck & Co., Inc.    MRK

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US Judge Upholds Validity Of Merck's Vytorin Patent

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04/28/2012 | 12:03am CET
   By Peter Loftus 
   Of  
 

A federal judge has upheld the validity of a U.S. patent covering Merck & Co.'s (>> Merck & Co., Inc.) Vytorin cholesterol-lowering drug, which could stave off competing generic copies for several years.

In an opinion released Friday, U.S. District Judge Jose Linares in federal court in Newark, N.J., said a patent for Vytorin was valid and enforceable.

Merck, based in Whitehouse Station, N.J., said in a recent regulatory filing it expects its U.S. exclusivity for Vytorin and a related drug, Zetia, to expire in April 2017.

Mylan Inc. (MYL) had applied for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell a generic version of Vytorin before its patent protection expired, arguing that the patent was invalid and unenforceable.

Schering-Plough, which was acquired by Merck in 2009, filed a patent-infringement lawsuit against Mylan in late 2009, seeking to block Mylan's product. A trial was held in December 2011, leading to Judge Linares's opinion Friday.

On a conference call with analysts Friday morning, Merck Chief Executive Kenneth Frazier said he was anticipating a favorable decision. "We believe this is a patent that is valid and enforceable," he said.

A Mylan spokeswoman couldn't immediately be reached.

Earlier Friday, Merck reported first-quarter Vytorin sales of $444 million and Zetia sales of $614 million.

Merck previously reached a settlement of patent litigation for Zetia with generics manufacturer Glenmark Pharmaceuticals. The pact will allow Glenmark to sell generic Zetia in December 2016, subject to final regulatory approval.

-By Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswires; +1-215-982-5581; peter.loftus@dowjones.com

Stocks mentioned in the article : Merck & Co., Inc.
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Financials ($)
Sales 2016 39 897 M
EBIT 2016 13 686 M
Net income 2016 5 904 M
Debt 2016 4 610 M
Yield 2016 3,03%
P/E ratio 2016 29,54
P/E ratio 2017 17,53
EV / Sales 2016 4,35x
EV / Sales 2017 4,32x
Capitalization 168 820 M
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Number of Analysts 21
Average target price 68,0 $
Spread / Average Target 11%
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NameTitle
Kenneth C. Frazier Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer
Robert M. Davis Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Clark Golestani Chief Information Officer & Executive VP
Thomas Henry Glocer Independent Director
Rochelle B. Lazarus Independent Director
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