U.S. court lifts block on competitor to AstraZeneca's Nexium

Reuters

LONDON, Oct 2 (Reuters) - A U.S. court has lifted atemporary block stopping South Korea's Hanmi Pharmaceutical from launching a close relative of AstraZeneca's Nexium stomach-acid drug in the United States.

AstraZeneca said on Wednesday that the U.S. Court of Appealsfor the Federal Circuit had removed the temporary injunction onHanmi's esomeprazole strontium product that had been imposedlast month while a legal dispute continues.

Britain's second-biggest drugmaker has accused Hanmi ofpatent infringement by developing the rival drug, which is notchemically identical to Nexium and would not be automaticallysubstitutable for Nexium at pharmacies.

Nexium is set to lose U.S. patent protection in 2014.

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