In a closely watched case that could have major implications for the future of drug competition, Sanofi-Aventis has sued the Food and Drug Administration in bid to halt a generic version of one of its top-selling drugs, a blood thinner made from pig intestines.

Fights between brand-name and generic drugmakers and the FDA are nothing new. But this battle stands to set an important precedent for how the agency handles biologic drugs, which are derived from living organisms and account for more than $40 billion in annual sales in the United States.

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