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AstraZeneca has announced that the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit has upheld a lower court ruling that found its blockbuster drug Seroquel XR was valid and had been infringed by companies seeking to sell generic versions of the medicine.

The US appeals court said on Thursday that it supports the decision issued by a New Jersey federal court in March.

Seroquel XR is an extended release version of Seroquel and is indicated to treat major depressive disorder, acute bipolar disorder and schizophrenia in adults.

AstraZeneca believes the patent to be valid until 2017, but companies including Accord Healthcare, Hexal AG and Teva Deutschland have challenged this argument.

The latest ruling applies to Mylan Inc, Osmotica Pharmaceutical Corp and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.

Seroquel sales have been declining in Europe due to generic competition, falling worldwide by 51% in 2012, but revenues for the extended release tablets in the US increased to $811m in the same period.

In 2012, the Federal Patent Court in Germany and the High Court in the UK found the formulation patent protecting the medicine to be invalid.

But AstraZeneca has won patent challenges in the Netherlands and Spain.

In a statement, AstraZeneca said it is pleased with the appellate court’s decision, which "again demonstrates the strength of the intellectual property protecting Seroquel XR."

Image: Packaging taking place at an AstraZeneca manufacturing facility. Image: Courtesy of AstraZeneca.