Hovione wins flumethasone patent case

Portuguese firm says product will play a pivotal role going forward

The US Patent and Trademark's Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences has reconfirmed Hovione's patent claims to a method of making flumethasone and its 17-carboxyl androsten analogue, two key intermediates on the synthesis of fluticasone, a corticosteroid used in asthma drugs, reversing a rejection by the reexamination examiner.

‘We are pleased that the board agreed with our demonstration that the method claimed in Hovione's patent was not obvious, despite the attempt by a competitor to show otherwise,’ said Edward Meilman, partner in Dickstein Shapiro's Intellectual Property Practice, which handled the reexamination proceeding on behalf of Portuguese API manufacturer Hovione.

Guy Villax, chief executive of Hovione, said: ‘This outcome is a victory. One of the authors of this patent was Ivan Villax, my father and founder of Hovione, so we'd fight this one in any case. Fluticasone is a product where we believe we will continue to have a central role going forward. Our company believes in picking winners and not letting go.’

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