A US appeals court on Wednesday temporarily suspended an order blocking the French pharmaceutical group Sanofi and its American partner Regeneron from selling their anti-cholesterol drug Praluent.
A Delaware court had blocked the manufacturing, marketing and sale of the drug in early January after their US competitor Amgen won a trial in which it accused them of violating its patents.
Sanofi and Regeneron had appealed the ban, which applied only to the United States and was to take effect on February 21. Wednesday's ruling suspends the order pending a decision in the appeal.
"This decision is important for patients in the US who will continue to have access to Praluent during the appeal process," Sanofi Executive Vice President Karen Linehan said in a statement, adding that "Amgen's asserted patent claims are invalid."
Praluent (or alirocumab) is one of a new class of drugs that lowers LDL cholesterol levels. It is sold in 15 countries outside the United States, a Sanofi and Regeneron statement says.
Amgen has been developing its own drug to lower LDL cholesterol levels, Repatha, since 2005. It was put on the US market in 2015.