Bristol-Myers Squibb engaged in a legal maneuver that is likely to delay the launch of a less expensive, generic form of Taxol, the world's top selling cancer drug.
The major pharmaceutical company, Bristol-Myers, has listed a new patent on Taxol in response to a court order in its patent infringement suit initiated by American BioScience Inc. This new listing with the Food and Drug Administration
could delay the agency from granting final approval for Ivax Inc.'s
generic version of Taxol for up to 2 years.
Taxol, which had $1.5 billion in sales last year, was expected
to lose its patent protection later this year, opening the way for
Miami-based Ivax Inc. to be the first generic drugmaker to produce
a cheaper, copy cat version.
Analysts said New York-based Bristol-Myers is interested in
doing anything to delay a generic Taxol from coming to market.
Generics, which usually cost less than half the price of brand
names, can erase about 80 percent of a brand's sales within two
On the news of the legal battle, shares of Bristol-Myers on Tuesday rose $1.875 to $52.50, and Ivax plunged $13 to $29.375. Bothe stocks are traded on the NYSE.