Watson Pharmaceuticals and GlaxoSmithKline Settle Patent Suit Over Wellbutrin XL

Watson Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has settled a patent infringement suit concerning GlaxoSmithKline's popular antidepressant Wellbutrin XL (bupropion HCl extended release tablets) for $35 million. The suit was filed in the Southern District of Florida in December 2005 by Andrx Pharmaceuticals, which was acquired by Watson last year. Andrx asserted that Glaxo's formulation for Wellbutrin XL infringed its U.S. Patent No. 6,905,708, entitled "Controlled Release Oral Dosage Form."

Andrx is seeking to market a generic version of Wellbutrin XL and has filed an ANDA with a paragraph IV certification on the Orange Book-listed patents. Biovail, which owns those patents and manufactures Wellbutrin XL for Glaxo, filed suit against Andrx in September, 2005 in the Southern District of New York. The timing of Andrx's suit against Glaxo in Florida suggests that Andrx may have sought to gain the upper hand in Biovail's case against Andrx in New York, perhaps hoping to settle the case on terms that it would allow it to sell generic Wellbutrin XL prior to the expiration of Biovail's patents. The New York case appears to be proceeding, with expert discovery scheduled to end this month.