Israel's Teva Pharmaceutical Industries has posted a strong set of second-quarter results which show that net income rose 5.3% to $515 million, or $0.42 per share (+6.8%), while turnover was driven by “record-breaking” sales of its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Group turnover was up 10% to $2.39 billion, with Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) bringing in $436 million, an increase of 23%, while the firm's Parkinson's disease drug Azilect (rasagiline) brought in $28 million, compared with $6 million in the second quarter of 2006. Global respiratory revenues reached $181 million, a 49% increase on the corresponding quarter last year, due almost entirely to sales of firm's branded asthma inhaler ProAir (albuterol).

While its branded drugs are performing very well, Teva is best known for its generics business and its North American sales, which climbed 6.5% to $1.34 billion, were boosted by the “substantial launches”, with exclusivity, of copycat versions of Merck & Co’s Zocor (simvastatin) and Bristol-Myers Squibb’s Pravachol (pravastatin). Growth in the USA was also driven by Teva’s version of Novartis’ hypertension treatment Lotrel (almodipine/benazepril), despite a concerted legal challenge by the Swiss drugs major to prevent the generic from hitting the market.

As of July 30, the Jerusalem-headquartered firm had 153 product applications awaiting final US Food and Drug Administration approval and believes it will be the first to file on 40 of these, relating to products whose annual US branded sales are over $37 billion. In Europe, Teva had 34 compounds pending submission at the end of June.

The firm confirmed its full-year earnings per share estimate of $2.20-$2.30 though this now seems somewhat conservative to many observers. Credit Suisse issued a research note saying that “we still expect that range to move up as the year progresses," and Teva is planning more launches before 2007 is out.

Generic Protonix will have to wait

One of those could be a generic version of Wyeth’s gastrointestinal drug Protonix (pantoprazole). However, the US drugmaker, along with partner Nycomed, noted that a federal judge has agreed to review a request for a preliminary injunction against Teva and India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries and the two firms have agreed to refrain from selling their generic versions of the drug before September 7, that is until the judge makes a ruling.