FDA Gives Teva Nod on Longer-Lasting Copaxone

TEL AVIV (Reuters) -

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares opened higher on Wednesday, after U.S. regulators approved the company’s three-times-a-week multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Teva, the world’s largest generics drugmaker, has been banking on a three-times-a-week version of Copaxone ahead of possible competition from generic rivals of the drug this year.

Teva has said it plans to convert some 35 percent of patients — about 30,000 — to the 40 miligram dose administered three times a week, from a current daily dose of 20 miligram, by June and 57 percent by year’s end.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin immediately.

“We don’t believe generic penetration of the daily formulation will be rapid,” Cowen and Co analyst Ken Cacciatore said in a note to clients. “Therefore, the net result should brand Copaxone retention with relatively slow declines thereafter,” he said. “Teva should continue to grind higher.”

Teva’s shares have gained 10 percent so far in 2014. They were flat between 2012 and 2013.

They were 2.7 percent higher in early Tel Aviv trade. Its New York shares rose 2.6 percent in after hours trade in the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval.