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Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. climbed to the highest level in almost eight months after U.S. and European regulators said they were reviewing Novartis AG’s multiple sclerosis pill Gilenya after reports of 11 deaths.
The shares of Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva, whose bestselling drug is Copaxone, an injectable treatment for multiple sclerosis, gained 0.9 percent to 173.50 shekels at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv, the highest since May 31.
“A slower introduction of oral treatments for multiple sclerosis will prolong the shelf life of injectable MS drugs such as Teva’s Copaxone,” Jonathan Kreizman, a Tel Aviv-based analyst at Clal Finance Brokerage Ltd. said today by phone.
Teva shares declined 18 percent last year as competition to Copaxone increased and after the company introduced fewer generic drugs in the U.S. Annual sales of the treatment, which reached $3.32 billion in 2010, will probably peak at $3.8 billion, Teva said Dec. 21. Copaxone accounted for 24 percent of revenue in the third quarter of 2011.
The reports of deaths among patients who took Novartis’s Gilenya raise concern that the first oral treatment for the debilitating neurological disease may harm the heart, the European Medicines Agency said Jan. 20. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration also is reviewing data on the medicine.
Novartis said it’s working with the EMA on the review and is notifying doctors of the agency’s recommendation to increase monitoring of patients’ hearts after the first dose. Julie Masow, a spokeswoman for Novartis, said in an e-mail the death rate is in line with the broader expected death rates based on the 30,000 multiple sclerosis patients who have been treated with Gilenya to date.
Jeremy Levin, who Teva named on Jan. 2 to replace Shlomo Yanai as chief executive officer, has an “impressive record” of identifying interesting branded drugs at an early stage, Kreizman said. Teva shares have soared 12 percent in Tel Aviv since Levin’s appointment.
“Investors feel Teva now has a better chance to find another branded blockbuster like Copaxone,” he said.
--Editors: Susan Lerner, Claudia Maedler
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