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India revokes patents on Allergan eye drugs Ganfort and Combigan

By Kaustubh Kulkarni

MUMBAI (Reuters) - India revoked patents on two of Allergan Inc's eye drugs on Thursday, the latest in a series of intellectual property setbacks suffered by Western drugmakers.

India's patent appeals board revoked patents covering Allergan's glaucoma drugs Ganfort and Combigan. Allergan officials were not immediately available for comment.

The revocations follow last week's rebuttal of GlaxoSmithKline Plc's Indian patent on the breast cancer drug Tykerb and further frustrates western drugmakers seeking a larger share of India's fast growing, $13 billion drugs market.

Last year India revoked patents on Pfizer Inc.'s cancer drug Sutent; Roche Holding AG's hepatitis C drug Pegasys; and a Merck & Co asthma treatment, citing lack of innovation.

India's Supreme Court earlier this year refused patent protection for Novartis AG's cancer treatment Glivec.

Domestic drugmaker Ajanta Pharma had challenged the patents granted to Allergan with the Intellectual Property Apellate Board (IPAB).

Ganfort is a patented fixed dose combination of bimatoprost and timolol. It is used to reduce pressure inside the eye caused by a build-up of fluid. Combigan is a patented fixed dose combination of brimonidine and timolol. It also reduces pressure inside the eye.

(Reporting by Kaustubh Kulkarni in Mumbai; Editing by Grant McCool)

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