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US Judge Upholds Validity Of Merck's Vytorin Patent

By Peter Loftus Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES A federal judge has upheld the validity of a U.S. patent covering Merck & Co.'s (MRK) 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

Stock News for Merck (MRK)
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07/13/201603:03:00Business Watch -- WSJ
07/12/201615:20:00Merck & Co. to Cut Research Jobs at Three East-Coast Sites
07/12/201615:08:00Merck & Co. Cutting Drug Research Jobs at 3 East-Coast Sites...
07/12/201614:46:00Merck & Co. Cutting Drug Research Jobs at 3 East-Coast Sites...
07/05/201612:57:50Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
07/05/201612:57:21Statement of Changes in Beneficial Ownership (4)
07/02/201603:03:00Merck to Buy Control Of Animal-Health Firm -- WSJ
07/01/201615:20:00Merck to Buy Brazilian Animal-Health Company
07/01/201615:09:00Merck to Buy Brazilian Animal-Health Company for $400 Million

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