Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has posted another very strong set of financials for the fourth quarter, boosted by impressive sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Net income excluding items rose 28% to $847 million, while sales jumped 33% to $3.80 billion. Turnover rose 35% in North America to $2.32 billion, helped by the launch of generic versions of Takeda’s antiulcerant Prevacid (lansoprazole), Sanofi-Aventis’ antihistamine Allegra-D (fexofenadine/pseudoephedrine) and the re-launch of a copycat version of AstraZeneca’s asthma drug Pulmicort Respules (budesonide) in the quarter.

Teva also enjoyed continued strong sales of its versions of Shire’s Adderall XR (amphetamine salts) for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, plus continued strong sales of copycat versions of Novartis’ blood-pressure-lowering treatment Lotrel (almodipine/benazepril), Bayer’s contraceptive Yasmin (drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol), Sanofi’s cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin), Roche’s acne drug Accutane (isotretinoin), Novartis’ herpes drug Famvir (famciclovir) and Wyeth’s antiulcerant Protonix (pantoprazole).

The company’s branded business was again dominated by Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The treatment brought in $747 million, an increase of 25%, while sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson’s disease reached $70 million, up 37%. Global respiratory revenues were up 9% at $282 million. Teva's women's health business, which was acquired as part of its acquisition of Barr last year, had flat sales of $77 million, up 10%.

The company noted that as of February 5, it had 216 product applications awaiting final US Food and Drug Administration approval. The company believes it will be the first to file on 43 of these applications, relating to products whose annual US branded sales are worth $113 billion. In Europe, Teva has 3,143 marketing authorisation applications pending approval, relating to 241 compounds in 485 formulations.

Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said 2009 was a year of “major strategic achievements”, including the successful integration of Barr, a process which was completed less than a year after closing, “and from which we expect to continue to derive significant synergies for many years to come”. He added that “especially against the backdrop of a troubled world economy, our results this year demonstrate Teva’s agility and the strength of our balanced business model, which enable us to deliver continuous profitable growth year after year”.

Meantime, Teva chairman Eli Hurvitz is taking a three-week leave of absence after responding “successfully to therapy for a recently-diagnosed illness.” Moshe Many, a longtime member of the board, will temporarily stand in for him.