Alza Corp. of Palo Alto, Calif., said Friday that the U.S. DistrictCourt in Wilmington, Del., upheld the validity of its patentcovering transdermal drug-delivery technology for estradiol.

Alza and its licensee, Ciba-Geigy Corp. of Ardsley, N.Y., filed suitin 1989 against Paco Pharmaceuticals of Lakewood, N.J.,alleging infringement of U.S. Patent 4,379,454 for the estradioldelivery system. The drug is used to treat post-menopausalsymptoms.

Paco two years ago filed an abbreviated new drug application(ANDA) with the Food and Drug Administration for itstransdermal estradiol product. The court ordered the companyto withdraw the ANDA. Paco officials declined comment Fridayon the court's decision.

Ciba-Geigy has sold the Alza product under the trade nameEstraderm since 1986 in the United States, Canada and parts ofEurope under an exclusive license from Alza.

Alza also announced that it is redeeming all of its outstanding$75 million 5.5 percent convertible subordinated debenturesdue in 2002. The redemption date is March 18. The debenturesare convertible into approximately 1.8 million shares of AlzaClass A Common Stock based on a conversion price of $41.66per share. -- Rachel Nowak

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