Pfizer has approached the Delhi High Court to prevent Indian pharmaceutical company Cipla from selling a generic version of Sutent (sunitinib), a liver and kidney cancer drug, to the local market.

The hearing against Cipla will be held early next week, reports the Hindu Business Line.

Following the request for a stay, Cipla’s shares were down by 1.6% while shares of Pfizer rose 1.57%.

In October, Pfizer’s patent on the drug was revoked after Cipla filed a "post-grant opposition" to the Patent Controller.

But, following an appeal by the US drug maker, the Supreme Court reinstated the patent and returned the case to the Patent Controller for a fresh hearing.

The Indian Patent Office has revoked a series of patents from branded pharmaceutical companies in recent months.

In November, the Intellectual Property Appellate Board turned down AstraZeneca ‘s plea for a patent on lung cancer drug Gefitinib.

Similarly, the patents office permitted Natco Pharma to manufacture and sell a generic version of Bayer Corporation’s cancer drug Nexavar for a fraction of the original price.

But Pfizer was successful in its plea to get a stay on Hyderabad-based Natco on Sutent earlier this week.

Sunitinib was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in January 2006. It was the first cancer drug simultaneously approved for two different indications

Image: Pfizer’s world headquarters in New York City.