Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Astra Gets Thumbs Up as It Battles for Patents

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Astra Gets Thumbs Up as It Battles for Patents

Article excerpt


ASTRAZENECA was singled out for support today, with the shares rallying25p to 1858p as it began a legal defence of the patent covering one of itsbestselling drugs, Seroquel, for the treatment of schizophrenia.

It will face generic challengers Teva Pharmaceutical and the Novartis genericsunit Sandoz in the US District Court in New Jersey on 11 August after theyfiled marketing applications for generic versions of Seroquel, despite thedrugmaker claiming patent protection until 2011.

AstraZeneca's share price has slumped from a peak of 2345p since the start ofthe year on concern that it may lose marketing exclusivity for a number of keydrugs, including Seroquel and heartburn treatment Nexium.

Sinclair Pharma finance director Jerry Randall has bought 10,000 shares in hiscompany at 43.83p each, taking his holding to 495,000 shares or less than 1%.Last month, the pharmaceuticals specialist saw first- half losses narrow from [pounds sterling]2.5 million to [pounds sterling] 910,000 on the back of sales up from [pounds sterling] 9.1 million to [pounds sterling] 10.4million. Randall was unable to make a forecast of profits for the full year.Sinclair shares firmed 3 4 p to 41p.

Shares generally in London were able to extend yesterday's gains in response toa strong showing on Wall Street overnight, which enjoyed its biggest one-dayrise for more than five years in response to the concerted move by centralbanks to pump extra cash into the money markets.

The FTSE 100 index rose 75 points to 5765.4 despite a large number of companiesgoing ex-dividend, equivalent to a fall of eight points in the index.

Banks and financial companies led the way higher again. Friends Providentcontinued its climb off the bottom with a rise of 4.2p to 128.2p following newsof yesterday's losses. Standard Life got the thumbs up from the City followinga 43% rise in profits last year with the price up 21.7p at 240.2p. Old Mutualalso put on 4.8p at 114. …

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