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New Biogen MS drug challenges Copaxone

Multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone accounts for an estimated half of Teva’s profit.

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Changes in the multiple sclerosis treatment market, in which Israeli pharmaceutical firm Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) is making an effort to protect its flagship drug, Copaxone, continue. Last week, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved marketing of Plegridy, a new drug for treating multiple sclerosis made by Biogen.

Like Copaxone, this drug is also an injectable, but it is administered once every two weeks, while Copaxone is injected daily (in its usual 20 mg dosage), or three times a week (in its new 40 mg. dosage). There is already an orally administered drug, Biogen’s Tecfidera, on the market.

Sales of Copaxone totaled $2 billion in the first half of the year, and the drug is estimated to account for half of Teva’s profit. The patent protecting Copaxone (20 mg.) expired a few months ago, but there is no generic competition yet for it, because the FDA has not yet approved a generic drug.

Teva is making an effort to switch as many Copaxone users as possible to its three-times-a-week (40 mg) version as part of its measures for combating generic versions. According to UBS figures, half of the Copaxone prescriptions in July were for the 40-mg version. “The transfer of patients is continuing successfully. Given the fact that Teva has filed another petition with the FDA asking for more figures from the generic companies, there is likely to be more delay before a generic version of Copaxone is approved. This delay will help Teva transfer more patients, ” wrote analyst Mark Goodman. Managed by Erez Vigodman, Teva is traded at a $45.6 billion market cap.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news –



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