UK company, Aircoat, has dropped its patent suit against French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi-Aventis, seeking to invalidate the firm’s patent covering the blockbuster super-asprin Plavix (clopidogrel).

The suit was launched in January this year [[26/01/05e]], but at the time Sanofi-Aventis said it believed Aircoat's arguments to be without merit. Plavix is Sanofi-Aventis’ second best-selling drug and climbed 21% to 974 million euros during the first half of this year alone [[19/07/05c]]. The UK market estimated to account for around 2.5% of the drug’s total revenues.

Plavix, which is also being threatened by India’s Dr Reddy’s and Canada’s Apotex [[10/05/05d]], is not due to lose patent protection in the US until 2011 and until 2013 in Europe.

- Meanwhile, Sanofi-Aventis revealed that it has sold its 49% stake in Wacker-Chemie back to the Wacker family. The shares were originally held by Hoechst, which merged with Rhone-Poulenc to form Aventis and subsequently joined forces with Sanofi-Aventis. Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but the Wacker family now controls 100% of the company.