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Biotech Rival to Teva Blockbuster Said to Seek IPO

March 23 (Bloomberg) -- Mapi Pharma Group, which is developing a longer acting version of Teva’s blockbuster Copaxone drug, is considering selling shares in the U.S., a person with knowledge of the matter said.

The Ness Ziona, Israel-based company, headed by a former vice president of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., has approached investment banks about plans to raise $30 million to $40 million in an initial public offering this summer, the person said, asking not to be identified because the information isn’t public. A Mapi spokesperson declined to comment.

Several Israeli companies have raised money on the U.S. stock market amid booming demand for health-care technology. Galmed Pharmaceuticals, which is developing an oral treatment for liver diseases, raised $44 million this month. Alcobra Ltd., which is working on medicine with reduced side effects to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, raised $25 million last year.

Headed by Ehud Marom, who also led Teva’s Copaxone global operation team, Mapi said in May it received a patent for a once-a-month formulation of glatiramer acetate, the active ingredient of Copaxone, which last year earned Teva more than $4 billion in sales. Teva earlier this year won approval for a three-times-weekly version of the injection and generic developers may introduce copies by May.

Mapi makes complex active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs, and generics. The company is building its first API production site in Israel’s chemical park in Ramat Hovav and is establishing a site in one of China’s chemical parks, according to its website. An API is the basic substance used by drug makers in a pharmaceutical drug.

To contact the reporter on this story: David Wainer in Tel Aviv at dwainer3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Phil Serafino at pserafino@bloomberg.net Riad Hamade, Guy Collins

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