Federal appeals court sides with Teva and Par, against BASF-Pronovo and GSK

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA and Par Pharmaceutical Co., won a federal appeals court patent infringement decision posted Thursday, which - pending FDA approval - will allow the generic drug companies to make cheaper versions of the omega-3 fish oil drug Lovaza, which is sold in the United States by GlaxoSmithKline.

Lovaza is meant to treat high levels of triglycerides, which can be factor in heart disease.

Teva is based in Israel but has its Americas headquarters in North Wales, Montgomery County. GSK is based in London, but has operations in Philadelphia and the surrounding region.

BASF, the German chemical giant, owns the active ingredient in Lovaza after buying 98 percent of Pronovo in January of 2013.

Through licensing deals, Pronovo had sold the drug in more than 50 countries. Abbott sells the drug in Europe, for example. But the sales in United States and Puerto Rico generated $916 million for GSK in 2011 and $959.5 million in 2012.

The three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit overturned a Delaware federal court decision, finding that one key patent had already been made available for public use and a second had expired.

GSK issued a statement on Friday that did little more than acknowledge the appeals court decision.

"Lovaza remains available and GSK is not aware that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved any generic copies to date," GSK said in its statement.