(Alliance News) - GSK PLC on Tuesday said it has taken the first steps to seek appeal of a ruling by the Delaware Superior Court in regard to its discontinued heartburn drug Zantac.

The Brentford, London-based pharmaceutical company said it has filed an application with the court to appeal to the Delaware Supreme Court for interlocutary review of the decision.

In late May, a Delaware judge allowed more than 70,000 lawsuits over the discontinued drug to go forward to trial, ruling that expert witnesses can testify in court that the drug may cause cancer.

GSK on Tuesday said the scientific consensus was that there is no consistent or reliable evidence that Zantac, or ranitidine, increased the risk of any cancer. Zantac was a heartburn drug that was pulled off the market in 2020 at the request of the US Food & Drug Administration, after low levels of a "probable carcinogen" were found in samples.

GSK said that if the Delaware Superior Court grants the appeal, it will go to the Delaware Supreme Court. The company added that if the Delaware Superior Court rejects the application, it will seek leave to appeal directly to the Delaware Supreme Court.

A decision on whether to hear the appeal would be expected from the Delaware Supreme Court later this year.

GSK added that pharmaceutical firms Pfizer Inc, Sanofi SA and Boehringer Ingelheim Group are all parties to the application.

GSK last week pointed out the litigation in Delaware remains at an early stage, and the ruling, under the Daubert standard, relates only to the question of whether the methodology used by plaintiffs' experts is sufficiently reliable to allow them to present their evidence at trial.

On Monday, GSK welcomed the dismissal of another case in Illinois concerning Zantac.

The company had noted the plaintiff's voluntary dismissal of the Zantac case, Kasza, which had been scheduled to start trial in Illinois state court. GSK said it did not settle Kasza's claim and has not paid anything in exchange for the voluntary dismissal.

GSK shares were 0.8% to 1,633.64 pence each on Tuesday morning in London.

By Tom Budszus, Alliance News slot editor

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