Barclays Capital analysts Richard Silver and Ann Trimble believe that Copaxone's market share for new prescriptions fell to 29% during November from a monthly average of 30-45% in preceding months.
Their estimate of a market share fall followed the publication of data about two of the competitors of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (Nasdaq:TEVA; TASE:TEVA) drug Copaxone for the treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. The figures for Novartis AG's (NYSE:NVS; LSE: NOV; SWX: NOVZ) newly launched oral multiple sclerosis treatment Gilenya should be of major concern to Teva's investors.
The news regarding Copaxone's other major rival Biogen Idec Inc's (Nasdaq: BIIB) Tysabari was also negative, which can be seen as positive for Teva.
Although Teva is considered a generic pharmaceuticals company, it also develops branded drugs and Copaxone is responsible for one third of the company's profit.
As a result of Gilenya's strong showing, Barclays Capital raised Novartis' target price. Gilenya is the first-ever oral treatment for multiple sclerosis in contrast to Copaxone which is an injectable drug.
Barclays Capital observed that according to ImpactRx, Gilenya, which was launched in October enjoyed a 23% market share in November for new neurological prescriptions.
Barclays Capital left its recommendation for Teva at "Outperform" at a share price of $73, 40.5% above the market price. Barclays Capital considers it too early to draw conclusions from just one month's figures and feel that in the longer term Biogen's Avonex and Tysabri drugs will be more severely hurt.
Biogen's Tysabri, which was withdrawn in 2005 following the death of a patient and returned to the shelves in 2006 with an advisory warning, continues to be plagued by worrying data. The company reported that 1% of those taking the drug have been seriously harmed including 16 fatalities and 79 with serious side effects.
Meanwhile Teva hopes to complete Phase III trials for Laquinimod oral treatment for multiple sclerosis in 2011 and apply for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the final quarter of the year.
Teva's share price fell 0.8% to NIS 186.60 on the TASE today, after closing at $51.93 on Nasdaq on Friday, giving a market cap of $46.7 billion.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 19, 2010
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