A U.S. Supreme Court Justice on Friday rejected a petition by Israeli pharmaceutical maker Teva to prevent competitors from producing generic versions of multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone while hearings go on to extend the patent. The rejection of Teva's request means that competitors, including Mylan, Momenta Pharmaceuticals, and Novartis AG’s Sandoz could start selling generic versions of the drug as soon as next month.
Patented Copaxone is one of the biggest moneymakers for the company known for its generic drugs. The patent on the original version of the drug will expire in May. Teva has developed a new version of the drug, and on the basis of the changes made in delivery of the drug, the company is hoping to renew its patent.
Copaxone brings in about $3 billion a year for Teva, and loss of the patent would be a major blow to its stock, according to analysts. In a statement, Teva said that the company “will continue pursuing its appeal in the Supreme Court and defending its intellectual property for Copaxone.”