EPO Rules European Nexium® Process Patent Valid

AstraZenecaAstraZeneca announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) Opposition Division has ruled that the European process patent EP 0773940 for Nexium® is valid in amended form, despite an opposition by the German generic manufacturer ratiopharm. The patent has been upheld as granted with regards to claims 1 and 2. Regarding claims 3 and 4, minor amendments have been made.

The EP 0773940 patent for Nexium® covers a process for the manufacturing of esomeprazole and its salts in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, UK, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. This positive decision by the EPO means that this patent in its amended form still covers the manufacturing process for Nexium®. This patent expires in 2015.

AstraZeneca has confidence in the intellectual property portfolio protecting Nexium®. This portfolio includes additional patents with expiration dates ranging from 2009 through to 2018. In addition to these patents, Nexium® has data exclusivity valid until March 2010 in most major European markets.

AstraZeneca will vigorously defend and enforce its intellectual property rights protecting Nexium®.

Worldwide Nexium® sales reached $ 5.2 billion in 2006. Europe accounted for $1.2 billion.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacture and marketing of prescription pharmaceuticals and the supply of healthcare services. It is one of the world's leading bio-pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $26.47 billion and leading positions in sales of gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infection products. AstraZeneca is listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (Global) as well as the FTSE4Good Index. For more information, visit www.astrazeneca.com.

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