Sanofi-Aventis has lost its court battle to prevent generic drugmakers from launching their own versions of its blockbuster cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), but says it intends to appeal.

The US District Court in New Jersey granted so-called summary judgement motions to a number of generic firms, including Hospira and Teva, ruling their products did not infringe patents covering Eloxatin. Both firms are anticipating full US Food and Drug Administration approval shortly.

In a statement, Sanofi stressed that it would not be altering its financial guidance for 2009 as a result of the ruling. However, it could mean generic oxaliplatin hitting the market one year earlier than anticipated, though JP Morgan analyst Alexandra Hauber told Reuters she foresees only a “negligible” impact on earnings of 1%-2%.

Eloxatin reaped US sales of $1.4 billion in 2008.

Building vaccines business, but not necessarily acquisitions
Meanwhile, Sanofi's chief executive Chris Viehbacher has dampened suggestions the firm may grow its vaccines business through acquisition, telling Bloomberg "you can look at acquisitions but they have got to create value". Although an acquisition has not been ruled out, Viehbacher pointed to the firm's strong foothold in Asia where it is forecasting double digit sales and sees the opportunity for organic growth. He also denied an interest in snapping up vaccines maker Crucell, saying "if you can partner, why acquire?".