Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.’s plan to reformulate or repurpose existing drugs will generate $3 billion of sales by 2020, part of a strategy to counter a decline in revenue from its best-selling Copaxone multiple sclerosis treatment.
Teva, which is looking for a new chief executive officer after Jeremy Levin stepped down in October amid a board dispute, will seek regulatory approval for eight products in the next three years from its effort to develop so-called new therapeutic entities, the company said in a presentation by Chief Scientific Officer Michael Hayden. The first new products to be submitted will be opioid drugs for pain relief that are designed to deter abuse, he said.
“We believe that the NTE process will be an important growth driver for Teva,” Hayden said in the webcast.
By holding bimonthly webcast research and development seminars, Petach Tikva, Israel-based Teva wants to prove its pipeline is strong enough to make up for an expected drop in sales of its Copaxone injection, which faces competition from newer oral drugs and generic copies as early as next year. In its October presentation, the drugmaker said its respiratory-treatment sales would grow to $2 billion in the next five years.
Teva’s American depositary receipts fell less than 1 percent to $40.03 at the close today in New York. They have returned 11 percent this year, trailing the 26 percent return for the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.
The NTE business is Teva’s most significant effort to marry its expertise in formulating and manufacturing generic medicines with a growing branded-drug development arm. The company is seeking to generate 10 potential products from the program each year, with six of them ultimately reaching the market, he said.
Analysts, including Sanford C. Bernstein & Co.’s Ronny Gal have expressed skepticism that the NTE business will drive growth fast enough to fend off a drop in profits as Copaxone sales decrease. Levin announced the plan in a meeting in New York last December, sending the shares down the most in 16 months as investors were disappointed with the lack of solutions to near-term challenges to sales.
Teva’s pipeline of new therapeutic entities includes four abuse-deterrent pain drugs, two schizophrenia treatments, and medicines for Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s and HIV, Teva said. “Risk-adjusted” sales will be $1 billion to $1.5 billion by 2018, and $3 billion by 2020, the company said.
One of the schizophrenia treatments is a new injected version of the generic product risperidone. The drug currently is offered as a daily oral treatment, though patients often fail to take the medicine, Hayden said. The most common long-acting injected version, known as Risperdal Consta, which is injected into the buttock muscle in a clinic every two weeks, he said.
Teva’s version will be injected once a month or once every three months under the skin, so it will be less painful and won’t require the patient to undress, and will be easier to prepare.
To deal with the potential earnings vacuum next year, Teva has pledged to cut 5,000 workers, or 10 percent of its workforce, to save $2 billion in annual costs by 2017. The decision has met with uproar in Israel -- where Teva employs more than 7,000 -- and had led to disagreements between Levin and Chairman Phillip Frost, a billionaire health-care investor who is Teva’s largest shareholder.