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AstraZeneca says Seroquel XR patent found invalid in Germany

(Reuters) - The federal patent court in Germany dealt a blow to AstraZeneca by ruling that a key patent on the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel XR was invalid, the British drugmaker said on Tuesday.

The ruling is limited to Germany, where the drug had sales of $82 million for the first 10 months of the year, and not binding to other countries, the company said.

AstraZeneca believes the Seroquel XR patent to be valid until 2017. The company had previously won Seroquel XR patent challenges in the United States, Spain and the Netherlands and is appealing a court ruling in Britain that found the patent to be invalid.

The German patent had been challenged by three generic drugmakers - the German unit of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Hexal AG and Accord Healthcare Ltd.

"AstraZeneca is disappointed with the court's decision. The company remains committed to defending its intellectual property protecting Seroquel XR," AstraZeneca said in a statement.

Seroquel XR is an extended release version of Seroquel, which is used to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, and is sold in Germany under the band name Seroquel Prolong.

Seroquel began facing competition from cheaper generics earlier this year, giving the company added incentive to defend its patents on the long acting version.

(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing by Bernard Orr)

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