Israel’s Teva Pharmaceuticals has seen profit and sales for the third quarter of the year slow compared to the phenomenal results of 2004, when sales skyrocketed 53% and net income surged 61%, as it witnessed a tail off in its generics business.

However, net income for the three-month period still rose a not-unimpressive 6% in the current market to $267 million, as revenues were also boosted 6% to $1.3 billion, with pharmaceuticals making up the large proportion at 89%. Heading the pack was its branded offering Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) for multiple sclerosis, which witnessed a record-breaking quarter, with sales up 27% to $307 million. Copaxone now leads the charge in the USA in both total and new prescriptions for MS, with a respective market share of 32.5% and 32.9%, according to IMS Health figures.

The US was again Teva’s strongest market, making up 60% of its overall revenues, but dropping back slightly on the previous year from $719 million to $708 million on slower generic sales. But the firm is banking on was it terms a “highly successful” launch of fexofenadine – Sanofi-Aventis’ Allegra – to provide a welcome boost to future sales in its generics business, and stresses it has 145 approval applications sitting with the US Food and Drug Administration representing annual branded sales of $97 billion. Teva believes it is the first to file on 39 of these applications, relating to products with annual US branded sales of over $25 billion.

It is also looking to Agilect/Azilect (rasagiline) to take flight: the drug, which is sold for Parkinson’s disease, is now available in a number of European countries and is on track to roll-out across the remainder of the continent throughout 2005 and 2006. However, in the USA, it is facing a hurdle after the FDA requested additional information prior to granting it full approval [[08/08/05b]]. Teva says it “continues to work with the FDA to resolve the remaining issues.”

The firm is also on track to finalise its merger with generics rival Ivax by the end of the year or early 2006, after shareholders of both companies approved the marriage with a confidence vote of 98% [[26/07/05a]]. So it will have been more than pleased with Ivax’ third quarter results, announced yesterday, which showed third quarter revenues jumping 41% to $618 million – the highest quarterly revenues in the firm’s history – while net income also witnessed extremely positive growth of 25% to $55 million.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca this morning revealed it has filed suit against Teva for patent infringement of its leading antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine). In September, the Israeli firm filed for US approval to market a copycat version of the drug, which brought in sales in excess of $1 billion for AstraZeneca during the first six months of the year and has patent protection until 2011 [[29/09/05a]].