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Teva’s Higher-Dose Copaxone Cut MS Relapses in Trial

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said a late-stage trial of a longer-acting version of its bestselling drug Copaxone reduced relapses from multiple sclerosis more than a placebo in a clinical trial.

Injecting 40 milligrams of Copaxone three times a week reduced relapse rates by 34.4 percent compared to a placebo, Petach Tikvah, Israel-based Teva said in a statement today. Teva markets a 20-milligram daily injection of the drug, which had sales of $3.9 billion last year.

Teva, the world’s largest maker of generic drugs, is trying to stave off competition for Copaxone, which generated 21 percent of its revenue in 2011. Newer treatments such as Novartis AG’s Gilenya, and the possible introduction of generics before Copaxone’s patents expire in the U.S. in 2014, threaten to erode Teva’s market share.

“The results are positive because they give the company a slight chance of getting exclusivity on this and possibly a price premium due to the lower frequency of injections,” Sabina Podval, an analyst at Leader & Co. Investment House Ltd. in Tel Aviv, said by telephone. “Still, the ability to compensate for the expected loss in revenue from the entrance of competitors is limited as generics will obviously be much cheaper no matter the dosage.”

Teva’s American depositary receipts fell less than 0.1 percent to $38.53 at 9:55 a.m. in New York trading. The stock declined 1.1 percent to close at 149 shekels in Tel Aviv.

Detailed results from the GALA trial will be presented “in the near future,” Teva said. The company plans to work with regulators to determine the next steps for the higher dose, the company said.

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