Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has posted another strong set of financials for the fourth quarter, despite swinging to a loss as a result of costs associated with its $7.46 billion acquisition of Barr Pharmaceuticals.

Net loss for the quarter was $688 million, compared with profits of $570 million for the like, year-earlier period. However, excluding acquisition costs of $992 billion and other one-time items, net income was up 11% to $634 million.

Sales jumped 11% to a record $2.85 billion, boosted by sales of Teva’s generic versions of GlaxoSmithKline’s antiepileptic Lamictal (lamotrigine) and Novartis’ blood-pressure-lowering treatment Lotrel (almodipine/benazepril). The company noted that as of February 5, it had 201 product applications awaiting final US Food and Drug Administration approval.

The company believes it will be the first to file on 85 of these applications, relating to products whose annual US branded sales are worth $53 billion. In Europe, Teva has 226 compounds pending submission in 452 formulations.

The company’s branded business was again dominated by Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The multiple sclerosis treatment brought in $595 million, an increase of 37%, helped by strong growth both in and outside the USA. Sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson’s disease reached $51 million, up 50%, while global respiratory revenues were up 37% at $259 million.

Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said “2008 was a year of record-breaking results and major strategic achievements”. The “most exciting” of those achievements was the Barr purchase, he added, noting that the deal “has elevated Teva’s market leadership to an entirely new level”.

He went on to say that the integration process is “well underway” and “we believe we will realise even greater synergies from the combination than we initially anticipated.” As to whether Teva is seeking more acquisitions, Mr Yanai said on a conference call this morning that "we regularly look at the entire industry” and “we are checking various possibilities”. He added that “the current situation creates opportunities”.

Mr Yanai said that Teva’s good run is set to continue. He noted that “generics are a solution for governments wanting to cut costs during the global crisis" and “we believe demand for generic drugs will rise."