Allergan Inc., a maker of eye and beauty products, accused Canadian generic drug maker Apotex Inc. of infringing five U.S. patents for preparations used in the treatment of glaucoma.
Allergan said in a federal lawsuit filed Monday in Delaware that Apotex told the company in April that it was seeking U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market generic versions of Allergan's Alphagan ophthalmic solution.
"Apotex has committed an act of infringement," Irvine-based Allergan said in the suit, which seeks a jury trial and an order to stop Apotex's use of the invention.
Allergan, which had a $127.4-million net loss last year on sales of $3.06 billion, said May 2 that sales of eye products including Alphagan rose 11% to $403 million in the first quarter. In January, the company, which also makes wrinkle smoother Botox, projected Alphagan sales of as much as $315 million this year.
Last year, Hunenberg, Switzerland-based Alcon Inc., the world's largest eye-care company, settled two patent-infringement lawsuits with Allergan, agreeing not to sell a generic version of Alphagan until 2009, and to pay royalties thereafter.
Closely held, Toronto-based Apotex says it is the largest Canadian-owned pharmaceutical company. The company said May 9 that it planned to spend $2 billion on research and development over the next decade.
Apotex spokeswoman Joanne Campbell didn't immediately return messages seeking comment on the lawsuit. Shares of Allergan rose 32 cents to $121.05.