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

Net income was up 2.9% to $742 million, while sales jumped 25% to $3.55 billion. Pharmaceutical turnover rose 34% in North America to $2.16 billion, helped by the launch of generic versions of Johnson & Johnson’s contraceptive Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo (norgestimate/ethinyl estradiol) and Sanofi-Aventis’ cancer drug Eloxatin (oxaliplatin).

Teva also enjoyed continued strong sales of its copycat 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) and Wyeth’s antiulcerant Protonix (pantoprazole).

The company’s branded business was again dominated by Copaxone (glatiramer acetate). The treatment brought in a record $776 million, an increase of 38%, and continues to be the number one MS therapy in the USA with a market share of around 30%.

Sales of Azilect (rasagiline) for Parkinson’s disease reached $64 million, up 39%, while global respiratory revenues were up 37% at $243 million. Teva's women's health business, which was acquired as part of its acquisition of Barr last year, had sales of $103 million, up 10%.

The company noted that as of October 23, it had 210 product applications awaiting final US Food and Drug Administration approval. The company believes it will be the first to file on 83 of these applications, relating to products whose annual US branded sales are worth $54 billion. In Europe, Teva has 3,058 marketing authorisation applications pending approval, relating to 242 compounds in 508 formulations.

Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said it was another very strong quarter for Teva, “with record-breaking financial results across the board”. He added that “for the first time, we crossed the billion dollar mark in quarterly cash flow ($1.03 billion) from operations.

Mr Yanai added that “this is the time of year when we develop our workplan and update our strategy for the next few years”. The process this year is “an especially inspiring one, as the more closely we analyse the opportunities ahead, the more excited we become”.

Analysts are interested to know what Teva intends to do with its cash pile. There have been rumours of a bid for fellow Israeli company Protalix Biotherapeutics, while last week, Hapoalim analyst Gilad Sarig issued a note saying that Teva may try to acquire major generic player RatioPharm because it needs to strengthen its presence in Germany.