JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries (TEVA.N), which this week revealed plans to buy Allergan’s (AGN.N) generics drugs business in a $40.5 billion deal, said on Thursday sales of its branded multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone rose 12 percent in the second quarter even though it faces new competition.
Teva, the world’s biggest generic drug maker, said that global Copaxone sales rose to $1.1 billion in the April-June quarter and it held a 31.2 percent shares of total MS prescriptions in the United States.
Sales of the best-selling drug, had dropped 14 percent in the first quarter.
Sandoz, part of Swiss drugmaker Novartis AG NOVM.VX, and Momenta Pharmaceuticals (MNTA.O) in June launched a once daily 20 mg version of Copaxone called Glatopa.
To stem the tide of generic competition, Teva has been moving patients to a three times a week 40 mg version of Copaxone, which the company said accounted for 68.5 percent of total Copaxone prescriptions in the United States.
Pressure had been growing on Teva Chief Executive Erez Vigodman to find new revenue sources to combat generic competition for Copaxone, which accounts for about half of Teva’s profit and 20 percent of revenue.
Teva has already published some details of its results on Monday when it unveiled its proposed purchase of Allergan’s generics business. This is the largest deal in Israel’s corporate history and aims to give Teva greater economies of scale, crucial in the low-margin generic drugs business.
Teva on Thursday reiterated that it recorded quarterly earnings of $1.43 per diluted share excluding one-off items, up from $1.25 a year earlier and well above analysts’ estimates of $1.31 according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue in the quarter slipped 2 percent to $4.97 billion but rose 6 percent excluding the impact of foreign exchange fluctuations and the sale of U.S. over-the-counter plants.
Teva declared a quarterly dividend of 34 cents a share.
It raised its 2015 earnings per share estimate to $5.15-$5.40 from $5.00-$5.30 but maintained a revenue forecast of $19.0-$19.4 billion.
Teva’s shares were down 1.8 percent late trading in Tel Aviv on Thursday after hitting an historic closing high of 271.10 shekels ($71.66) on Wednesday. In premarket trading in New York, the stock was down 0.7 percent at $70.37.
($1 = 3.7830 shekels)
Reporting by Steven Scheer. Editing by Jane Merriman