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Astra shares rocket.

Byline: HENRYK ZIENTEK

SHARES in pharmaceuticals giant AstraZeneca rocketed after it won a three-year battle over its Crestor cholesterol drug which will keep cheap rivals at bay in the US until 2016.

A US court found the firm's Crestor patent was "valid and enforceable" following a challenge by nine generic drugs manufacturers in 2007.

Astra soared by 10% as investors welcomed the boost for the drug, which generated pounds 1.4bn in US sales last year. Shares jumped by 222p to 3169p yesterday.

Chief executive David Brennan said: "The court's decision reaffirms the strength of the intellectual property protecting Crestor."

Astra's shares surge added more than pounds 4bn to the market value of the firm.

Citigroup analyst Kevin Wilson said the ruling removed a major risk, given that Crestor is the company's most important product in terms of helping the firm return to sustainable growth after 2014.
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 1, 2010
Words:147
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