Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has posted another strong set of financials for the first-quarter, despite net income falling 57% to $147 million, or $0.18 per share.

The earnings decline was due to a $382 million charge the Petah Tikvah-based firm took in connection with its recently-announced $400 million acquisition of the US biotechnology company CoGenesys. Without the charge, net income would have come in at $529 million or $0.64 per share, slightly above analysts’ expectations.

Sales rose 24 percent to $2.57 billion, helped by sales of Teva’s generic version of Wyeth’s gastrointestinal drug Protonix (pantoprazole), Novartis’ blood-pressure-lowering treatment Lotrel (almodipine/benazepril) and Merck & Co’s osteoporosis medicine Fosamax (alendronate).

The company’s branded business was again dominated by Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). As announced last week, the multiple sclerosis treatment brought in $542 million, an increase of 35%, thus maintaining its position as the leading therapy for the disease in the USA, and penetration of the product is continuing across Europe, primarily Germany, France, Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Russia.

Sales of Teva’s Parkinson's disease drug Azilect (rasagiline) reached $37.5 million, up 50%. However, global respiratory revenues were $168 million, a 13% decrease on the corresponding quarter last year, reflecting a decline in demand for the firm's asthma inhaler ProAir (albuterol).

The rest of the cash comes mainly from generics and Teva noted that as of April 30, it had 155 product applications awaiting final US Food and Drug Administration approval. The company believes it will be the first to file on 49 of these, relating to products whose annual US branded sales are worth $38 billion. In Europe, Teva has 146 compounds pending submission in 289 formulations.

Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said that Teva got off to a strong start in 2008, noting the performance of Copaxone and the acquisition of CoGenesys. He also pointed to the proposed purchase of Bentley Pharmaceuticals in Spain, one of the fastest-growing generic pharmaceutical markets in Europe and “an important region in Teva's strategic plan”.