Patent News " Amarin drug gets 1st patent "

By : Lee Howard
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Category ; Patent News

Groton - Amarin Corp. plc, the Irish drug company with research-and-development headquarters on Thames Street, said Tuesday that it has received the first patent for its lead heart drug, currently known as AMR101.

AMR101, which will be marketed under a different name if the U.S. Food and Drug Administation gives its stamp of approval later this year, has been shown to control the buildup of fat in the blood, a key factor in heart disease. It is expected to be an improvement over a blockbuster GlaxoSmithKline drug known as Lovaza that also controls fat buildup.

Amarin Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Zakrzewski called AMR101's patent approval "an important step forward" for the company.

The patent, known by its number 8,188,146 and titled "Highly Purified Ethyl EPA and Other EPA Derivatives," settles once and for all the question over whether Amarin's promising heart drug would pass muster with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The company's stock, which surged near the $20 level after a series of encouraging data was released during 2010-2011, had been battered by late last year, falling to about a third of its high.

By Tuesday, however, the stock had regained much of its luster as investors came to expect patent approval, and Amarin's stock initially fell on news of the U.S. approval. But an announcement later in the day that Teva Pharmaceuticals and Par Pharma had lost their bid to sell a generic form of Lovaza sent Amarin's shares into a steep incline, with the price settling $12.27 a share, up more than 6 percent.

The patent for AMR101, which is a highly purified Omega-3 fish oil, protects Amarin's intellectual property through 2030. It also could remove any doubts as to the company's suitability as a buyout candidate or partner, though Amarin officials have not yet tipped their hand on which option they would prefer.

Amarin promised, however, that it would continue seeking other avenues of patent protection and said that it currently has more than 25 applications pending in the United States to block potential rivals from cashing in on copycat versions of AMR101.

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