Days after a federal judge threw out patents on the dry-eye medicine Restasis (Allergan), a San Diego pharmaceutical company said it would offer a cheaper compounded version of cyclosporine. Shares of Imprimis Pharmaceuticals nearly doubled after the announcement.
Allergan last month sued Imprimis alleging the company is illegally manufacturing and selling unapproved new drugs. Imprimis called the lawsuit frivolous and a tactic to snuff out competition offering lower cost options to expensive drugs, Reuters reported.
The Imprimis product will cost 99 cents for a month’s supply and refills start at $79 a month.
Allergan recently stirred controversy after striking a deal with a Native American tribe that would shield certain patents on Restasis, which can cost $5,000 a year according to Imprimis. A U.S. judge Monday invalidated those patents on Restasis on the grounds that they cover ideas that are obvious.
Imprimis said its compounded cyclosporine-based formulations are made from FDA-approved drug components and compounded in FDA-inspected facilities, require a patient-specific prescription, and may be customized according to patients' individual needs.
Topical cyclosporine, which is an off-patent and inexpensive drug, can cost more than $5,000 per year when purchased in the commercially available form of Restasis, Imprimis said.