Teva: Rumors Of Copaxone’s Demise Have Been Greatly Exaggerated
We find it absolutely ridiculous that Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA) should be trading at an adjusted 2013 PE of 7.28X earnings. Despite its stumbles under the previous CEO, Teva is still the industry leader in the generic drug segment and it is emerging as a major branded pharmaceuticals company in its own right. A number of Teva’s bears have been growling about Copaxone going off patent in 2015. As we have held our position in TEVA since 2003 and as we are aware of the importance of that drug to Teva’s bottom line, we are not going to make like an ostrich and stick our heads into the sand with regards to Copaxone’s future prospects. At the same time we are not going to be cowering in fear because Teva’s bears are peddling doom and gloom like they were Latter-Day Cassandras.
Copaxone continues to lead the U.S. and global relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis market in both sales and market share. Copaxone’s US market share is over 40% and Teva’s management expects it to maintain its global market leadership position due to its established and clinical experience in treating RRMS patients. Copaxone (Glatiramer acetate) was originally discovered by Dr. Dvora Teitelbaum at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel. Copaxone gained approval in the US in 1996 and will go off patent in 2015.
There were concerns that Copaxone would lose its patent protection before 2015, but Teva’s patent victories in June 2012 helped eliminate that short term threat. Although Teva will have to deal with Copaxone’s patent expiring in 2015, it may not necessarily have to deal with an immediate generic version of Copaxone as the drug has very particular chemical properties and any generic version would potentially require separate, costly clinical trials before receiving approval.