U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 5 mins

Forest Labs settles Bystolic patent lawsuit

NEW YORK (AP) -- Forest Laboratories Inc. said Thursday that it resolved another lawsuit with a company that wanted marketing approval for a generic version of its blood pressure drug Bystolic.

The patent infringement suit was against Glenmark Generics Inc. Under the settlement Glenmark will be able to start selling a lower-cost version of Bystolic about three months before the patents protecting the drug expire. That is scheduled to happen in 2021.

The Food and Drug Administration approved Bystolic in 2007. The drug is a member of the beta blocker family of medications that control high blood pressure by relaxing blood vessels and slowing heart rate. Earlier this year Forest and Johnson & Johnson sued Glenmark and several other drugmakers. Most of the lawsuits have been settled, but suits against Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Amerigen Pharmaceuticals Ltd. have not been resolved.

In December, prior to the Glenmark settlement, Citi Investment Research analyst Liav Abraham said he expected Forest to resolve its lawsuits against Glenmark, Watson, and Amerigen soon. She said the settlements have been very favorable to Forest, and based on the agreements she now expects peak sales of Bystolic to reach $800 million a year. Over the last four quarters Forest has reported about $402 million in sales of the drug.

Forest got about one-sixth of its total revenue from Bystolic in its latest fiscal quarter. The company is also studying a drug that combines Bystolic with valsartan, an older blood pressure drug sold under the name Diovan.

Shares of Forest Labs rose 16 cents to $35.98 in afternoon trading.