Bayer AG loses due to court’s decision

Bayer AG fell to the lowest level in a year in Frankfurt trading after a U.S. judge invalidated a patent on the Yasmin contraceptive, giving Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. a chance to sell a cheaper copy.

The court ruling capped years of legal wrangling and paved the way for Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc to sell a generic version in the U.S. market.

Bayer disagrees with the court's decision and said it will consider its legal options.

Germany's largest drugmaker declined as much as 5.6 percent. The decision yesterday by a federal judge in New Jersey means Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey-based Barr may be able to sell a generic version before the patent expires in 2020.

Yasmin is part of a group of contraceptives that became the single biggest contributor to Bayer's pharmaceutical revenue last year, with 1.04 billion euros ($1.58 billion) in sales. The ruling may threaten the newer Yaz birth control pill, which is also protected by the patent. Bayer, which bought German rival Schering AG in 2006 to boost growth from pharmaceuticals, reduced the 2008 profitability goal for its health unit as a result of the Yasmin decision.

Bayer AG is a German chemical and pharmaceutical company founded in Barmen, Germany in 1863. Today it is headquartered in Leverkusen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. It is well-known for its original brand of aspirin.