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Vectura, Sandoz win ruling on inhaler packaging case against GSK

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

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 , 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 color 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 here 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

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