Vectura, Sandoz win ruling on inhaler packaging case against GSK

Credit: REUTERS/Loriene Perera

Vectura Group said on Friday a British court had ruled in its favour on the packaging of a generic version of an inhaler made by bigger rival GlaxoSmithKline.

Adds comment from GSK spokesman

Oct 4 (Reuters) - Vectura Group VEC.L said on Friday a British court had ruled in its favour on the packaging of a generic version of an inhaler made by bigger rival GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L.

Vectura said the court dismissed all GSK claims related to the packaging of AirFluSal Forspiro, which it developed in partnership with Sandoz, owned by Swiss drugmaker Novartis NOVN.S, as a branded version of GSK's asthma inhaler, Seretide Accuhaler.

GSK, with which Vectura has partnerships, said it was "disappointed" with the court decision and will "consider its next steps".

Sandoz launched AirFluSal Forspiro in late 2015, following which GSK filed a legal claim that Sandoz had used shades of purple similar to Seretide's packaging to pass off AirFluSal Forspiro as being related to GSK's product.

"Our issue was simply with the colour of the device itself and its similarity to GSK’s Advair/Seretide," a GSK spokesman said, adding that the company was not opposed to a new entrant in the market.

Forspiro is a dry powder inhaler developed by Vectura and licensed to Sandoz for use with the AirFluSal product.

Seretide is a combination of two active ingredients that make it easier to breathe and is sold by GSK in the UK in two forms, one of which is the Seretide Accuhaler, which delivers the drug as a dry powder.

Vectura shares rose as much as 2.4% after the announcement.

In May, a jury found that one of Vectura's U.S. patents was infringed by the sale of three of GSK's Ellipta products in the United States and Vectura was awarded $89.7 million in damages.

(Reporting by Pushkala Aripaka in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Deepa Babington)

((Pushkala.A@thomsonreuters.com; Twitter: @pushkala_a; within UK: +44 20 7542 1810, outside UK: +91 80 6749 6633;))

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