Teva Pharmaceuticals to Narrow Focus on Drugs, Trim Costs

Teva Pharmaceuticals to Narrow Focus on Drugs, Trim Costs [the Philadelphia Inquirer]

From Philadelphia Inquirer (PA) (December 12, 2012)

Dec. 12--Officials of Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd. said Tuesday the company would narrow its focus on which drugs it makes and cut about $1 billion from its production and procurement costs in the next five years, but there was no word on layoffs at Philadelphia-area facilities such as the factory in Sellersville, Bucks County.

"More and more, we will focus on cost-effective locations," Carlo de Notaristefani, Teva’s chief of global operations, said during the company’s three-hour presentation to stock market analysts in New York.

Based in Israel but with its Americas headquarters in North Wales, Teva sells more generic drugs than any company in the world. But it is trying to increase its more-profitable branded drug business, while helping its stock price, which has slumped in recent years. Teva closed Tuesday at $41.67, down 85 cents, on the New York Stock Exchange.

In 2010, Teva shifted some production from Sellersville to its plant in Forest, Va., and some of the 500 people employed at that time lost jobs. As of Tuesday, Teva’s main division had 10 production plants in the United States, more than in any other country.

Chief executive officer Jeremy Levin, who took over May 9, said greater focus of effort, whether on drug research or efficiency in production and procurement, would be how the company returns greater value to shareholders.

"Where we cannot make a difference, we will not try to make a difference," Levin said, referring to choices on drugs.

Levin and other officials touted the company’s top-selling brand-name drug, Copaxone, which is used by patients with multiple sclerosis. Teva is fighting off competitors who hope eventually to sell generic versions of the injectable medicine or the oral versions under development. Copaxone is part of the central nervous system group of medicines, one area Teva will increase focus on.

Painkillers are part of that group, and, as Teva research and development chief Michael Hayden said, "pain is the No. 1 complaint bringing patients to their doctors in the U.S."

To that end, Teva said it would pay Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. $41 million up front and as much as $335 million for a drug now called XEN402, which is in clinical development for a variety of painful disorders.

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Contact David Sell at 215-854-4506, dsell@phillynews.com, or follow on Twitter @phillypharma. Read his blog at www.philly.com/phillypharma.

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Posted: December 2012


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