Eli Lilly has been boosted by the news that a US judge has granted a temporary restraining order preventing Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries from launching a generic version of the osteoporosis drug Evista.

A battle is going on between the two firms in an Indiana court over the validity of three patents (2012, 2014 and 2017), covering Evista (raloxifene). Teva had indicated it was prepared to launch its generic version prior to the resolution of the patent litigation. Lilly claims.

Robert Armitage, Lilly's general counsel, said Teva's challenges to Evista “are without merit and we expect to prevail in this litigation". He added that “we have taken and will continue to take all appropriate actions needed to protect our intellectual property rights as they relate to Evista”.

The drug is a big earner for Lilly and had sales of $269.0 million in the fourth quarter, down 6%. Evista is also approved for the prevention of breast cancer for certain postmenopausal women.

Teva settles with Sepracor over Xopenex
Better news for Teva came with the announcement that it has reached a deal with Sepracor to start selling a generic form of the latter’s Xopenex (levalbuterol), which is indicated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma, in February 2013. Teva's Barr Laboratories subsidiary has been granted a non-exclusive licence to market its copycat version, and Sepracor will receive royalties.

Sepracor chief executive Adrian Adams said that the resolution of the patent infringement dispute “allows all parties to avoid the uncertainties and expenses related to patent litigation”. Xopenex sales in 2008 reached $441 million.