Teva shares gain after FDA approves 3 times a week Copaxone

JERUSALEM Wed Jan 29, 2014 3:28am EST

JERUSALEM Jan 29 (Reuters) - Teva Pharmaceutical Industries shares opened higher on Wednesday after U.S. regulators approved the company's three-times-a-week multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.

Teva, the world's largest generics drugmaker, has been banking on a three-times-a-week version of Copaxone ahead of possible competition from generic rivals of the drug this year.

Teva has said it plans to covert some 35 percent of patients - about 30,000 - to the 40 mg dose administered three times a week from a current daily dose of 20 mg by June and 57 percent by year end.

"We don't believe generic penetration of the daily formulation will be rapid," Cowen and Co analyst Ken Cacciatore said in a note to clients. "Therefore, the net result should brand Copaxone retention with relatively slow declines thereafter," he said. "Teva should continue to grind higher."

Teva's shares have gained 10 percent so far in 2014. They were flat between 2012 and 2013.

They were 2.7 percent higher in early Tel Aviv trade.

Its New York shares rose 2.6 percent in after hours trade in the wake of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval. (Reporting by Steven Scheer. Editing by Jane Merriman)