By Donato Paolo Mancini
Novartis AG's (NOVN.EB) closed higher on Thursday after jumping on news of a ruling that suggested that market exclusivity for the company's multiple-sclerosis blockbuster drug Gilenya in the U.S. will likely be extended.
"A favorable resolution of the dosage regimen patent litigation" may lengthen the period in which the drug is free from generic competition, according to a Novartis document seen by Dow Jones Newswires.
The note was sent out at around midday Thursday, two analysts told Dow Jones, and shares started climbing around that time. One of the analysts said the market wasn't expecting the decision, so that sent the share price up.
According to the document, the Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a decision upholding the validity of the dosage-regimen patent on Wednesday. The decision can be appealed, the document said.
Gilenya had sales of $3.19 billion in 2017, according to the company's annual report.
Novartis said it was pleased with the decision, and that it expected to maintain exclusivity until August 2019.
Shares closed up 4.1% at CHF78.94.
Write to Donato Paolo Mancini at firstname.lastname@example.org