Leading Israeli Pharmaceutical company Teva has mixed results in its initial U.S. Supreme Court hearing over the possible loss of patent protection for Copaxone, a multiple sclerosis drug that accounts for nearly half of the company’s profits. Copaxone is one of Teva’s few original medicines, since it has long been known for making its own generic versions of other blockbuster drugs once they have gone off patent. The justices were divided over a federal appeals court decision that made invalid a patent to protect Teva’s drug until September 2015. Some justices supported Teva, others disagreed.
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Copaxone made $4.3 billion for the company last year. Teva is developing a longer-acting version that would potentially have patent protection until 2030. Teva is fending off competing generic drugs developed by Mylan and Natco pharma as well as one from Momental Pharmaceuticals and Novartis. The case has larger implications on how appeals in patent cases are handled.