Sanofi-Aventis Wins Plavix Patent Suit in Canada

March 30, 2005

Sanofi-aventis has fended off the first of several patent challenges against its blockbuster stroke medication Plavix, winning a patent suit in Canada, the company said.

The Canadian Federal Court of Ottawa ruled that sanofi-aventis' patent on Plavix (clopidogrel bisulfate) is valid and can't be infringed until it expires in 2012. Plavix is one of the top-selling drugs on the market, generating worldwide sales of $5.28 billion in 2004. Sanofi-aventis co-markets the drug with Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS).

The case stemmed from a lawsuit brought by generic drugmaker Apotex, which claimed sanofi-aventis' patent should be overturned because Plavix's active ingredient and manufacturing process were obvious and lacked inventive ingenuity. The court disagreed with Apotex's argument and declared that sanofi-aventis' patent claims were indeed novel.