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: Quote) 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