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EPO Rules European Nexium Process Patent Valid

LONDON, Oct. 9, 2007-AstraZeneca today announced that the European Patent Office (EPO) Opposition Division has ruled that the European process patent EP 0773940 for Nexium® is valid in amended form, despite an opposition by the German generic manufacturer ratiopharm. The patent has been upheld as granted with regards to claims 1 and 2. Regarding claims 3 and 4, minor amendments have been made.

The EP 0773940 patent for Nexium® covers a process for the manufacturing of esomeprazole and its salts in Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Denmark, Spain, France, UK, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, The Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia and Sweden. This positive decision by the EPO means that this patent in its amended form still covers the manufacturing process for Nexium®. This patent expires in 2015.

AstraZeneca has confidence in the intellectual property portfolio protecting Nexium®. This portfolio includes additional patents with expiration dates ranging from 2009 through to 2018. In addition to these patents, Nexium® has data exclusivity valid until March 2010 in most major European markets.

AstraZeneca will vigorously defend and enforce its intellectual property rights protecting Nexium®.

Worldwide Nexium® sales reached $ 5.2 billion in 2006. Europe accounted for $1.2 billion.

For further information contact:

Media Enquiries:
Steve Brown, +44 207 304 5033
Edel McCaffrey, +44 207 304 5034

Investor Enquiries:
Jonathan Hunt, +44 207 304 5087
Mina Blair, +44 20 7304 5084
Ed Seage, +1 302 886 4065
Jorgen Winroth, +1 212 579 0506
Karl Hard +44 207 304 5322


Posted: October 2007