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India rebuffs Lilly patent claim on Cialis

December 14, 2007

Regulators in India have rejected a patent claim by Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. for its Cialis erectile dysfunction drug.

The drug's basic components were synthesized in 1970 by Indian scientists at a government body that researches pharmaceuticals, the Central Drug Research Institute, an Indian drugmaker contended.

Moreover, drugmaker Ajanta Pharma argued, the Indian scientists obtained a U.S. patent on the development five years later.

If Lilly's appeal of the decision fails, Cialis will compete with less-expensive forms of the drug in one of the world's largest markets.

Lilly's predicament was the subject of an article in the Business Standard, an Indian business newspaper.

The newspaper said 72 other countries have accepted that the drug, whose generic name is tadalafil, is novel. India is the only country to reject a patent, the sources said.

Early this year Lilly acquired full ownership of its joint-venture partner that made Cialis, Icos Corp., for $2.3 billion. Icos was based in Bothell, Wash.

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