U.S. Court rules Merck's Zetia patent valid

Sat Apr 28, 2012 7:59am EDT
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(Reuters) - A U.S. court on Friday ruled that the patent on Merck & Co's (MRK.N: Quote) cholesterol fighter Zetia and a related drug Vytorin was valid and issued an injunction blocking approval of a generic version by Mylan Inc MYL.O until the patent expires.

Mylan had admitted that its product would infringe the patent, which run until April of 2017, Merck said.

Merck earlier on Friday said first-quarter sales of Zetia, known chemically as ezetimibe, rose 6 percent to $614 million, while Vytorin, which combines Zetia with Merck's older cholesterol drug Zocor, saw sales slip 8 percent to $444 million.

In a ruling in U.S. District court for the district of New Jersey, Judge Jose Linares declared the patent to be "valid and enforceable."

(Reporting By Bill Berkrot)

A general view shows the Merck facility in Rahway, New Jersey November 28, 2005. REUTERS/Jeff Zelevansky