13 October 2014Asia

Pfizer granted anti-fungal patent in India

US pharmaceutical company Pfizer has been granted a patent for an anti-fungal drug in India after overcoming local opposition.

Pfizer’s application for its Voriconazole drug was accepted by the Office of The Controller General Patents, Designs and Trademarks, despite Ranbaxy Laboratories and Natco Pharma initiating opposition procedures.

The application, called "pharmaceutical formulations containing Voriconazole", was for a formulation consisting of anti-fungal agent Voriconazole that had been freeze-dried to improve its stability in water.

In its opposition, Ranbaxy claimed the subject matter of the application was not novel, lacked innovation and had indefinite claims.

Natco said the application lacked innovation and novelty, and that it was included in a prior art disclosure that formed part of the application.

But India’s deputy controller of patents and designs, in New Delhi, said the arguments were not sustainable and that the drug’s composition is industrially useful in the preparation of medicaments used to treat fatal fungal infections.

According to news website Business Standard, the deputy controller acknowledged the inventive step of the patent after finding that a patent was granted at the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the European Patent Office to protect the same claims.

"There appears to be no ground to dissolve the patent on this application; hence the patent is granted and oppositions are dismissed," the deputy controller said.

The drug is sold in the US under the brand name Vfend.

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