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Indianapolis court backs patent for Lilly cancer drug Alimta

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A federal court has upheld the patent that protects Eli Lilly and Co.'s lung-cancer treatment from generic competition until 2022.

The Indianapolis-based drugmaker said late Monday that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana backed a vitamin dose regimen patent for the drug Alimta, which also has a compound patent that remains in force through early 2017.

Alimta brought in $1.21 billion in U.S. revenue last year, ranking it third in Lilly's portfolio behind the insulin Humalog and the antidepressant Cymbalta. Global revenue from the drug was $2.7 billion.

Lilly has said it expects a sharp drop in both overall earnings and revenue this year as it deals with the loss of patents protecting other drugs like Cymbalta and the osteoporosis treatment Evista. Analysts and investors are both aware of those pressures and are paying close attention to the company's current and future revenue sources.

Lilly shares were up 34 cents Tuesday morning, to $59.20 each. That would put the stock up about 16 percent so far this year.

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