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Teva Rises to Highest in Month on Novartis MS Drug Concern

Dec. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., whose bestseller is a multiple sclerosis treatment, rose to the highest level in more than a month as the safety of a rival drug by Novartis AG came under scrutiny after a patient died.

The shares in the Petach-Tikva, Israel-based company whose bestselling drug is Copaxone, an injectable treatment for multiple sclerosis, gained 2.3 percent to 154.50 shekels, the highest level since Nov. 8, at the 4:30 p.m. close in Tel Aviv.

“Any alternative to Copaxone which encounters safety issues is good news for Teva as it underlines Copaxone’s very clean safety profile,” said Jonathan Kreizman, an analyst at Clal Finance Brokerage Ltd. in Tel Aviv.

A patient died on Nov. 23 after starting treatment with Novartis AG’s Gilenya, the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker company said yesterday. The death is the first reported within 24 hours of the initial dose in more than 28,000 patients who have taken the drug, and a role for Gilenya in the death can’t be excluded or confirmed, spokesman Eric Althoff said yesterday in a statement.

Teva shares have dropped 17 percent this year in Tel Aviv as competition grows for Copaxone and after it introduced fewer generic drugs in the U.S.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shoshanna Solomon in Tel Aviv at ssolomon22@bloomberg.net; Tal Barak Harif in New York at tbarak@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Claudia Maedler at cmaedler@bloomberg.net

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