Teva seeks to grow through brands and deals

 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is seeking to expand its branded drug portfolio and make more acquisitions, downplaying its reputation as a generics supplier.

This follows a year in which its acquisition of US specialty pharmaceutical company Cephalon saw Teva benefit from growing sales of MS drug Copaxone, while its sales of generics in the US declined.

Chief Executive Shlomo Yanai (pictured) said the Israel-based company does not want to be dependent on one ‘blockbuster’ product – an implicit comment on the ‘patent cliff’ faced by some leading pharma companies this year.

Yanai’s impending replacement (in May) by Jeremy Levin, who oversaw BMS’s ‘string of pearls’ acquisition strategy, has been interpreted as meaning that Teva will expand through takeovers of smaller companies.

Teva is the world’s leading supplier of generic drugs, but in 2011 its sales of generics in the US fell by 32%.

The company’s $6.5bn acquisition of Cephalon, which closed in October, was the main factor in the 28% rise in sales that Teva saw in the fourth quarter of 2011 – bringing its 2011 sales revenue to $18.3bn, 14% above the 2010 figure.

Sales of Copaxone, which passed $1bn in the last quarter, made up one-sixth of Teva’s entire quarterly revenue – but in 2012, the drug’s sales are expected to peak due to growing competition.

Yanai commented: “Our answer is not just in developing drugs but in reducing our dependence on this product.” He also said he was “optimistic about the continued growth of Teva in the branded products sector,” and that the company was examining opportunities for acquisitions.

2011 also saw Teva acquire Japanese company Taiyo and partner with Procter & Gamble to supply OTC medicines. Analysts have suggested that the company may seek to purchase Shire, a specialist in drugs for rare diseases.

However, Teva has no plans to abandon the generics market, which Yanai said may pick up in 2012 due to the worsening US economic crisis.

Teva forecasts 2012 sales of $22bn, compared to $18.3bn in 2011 – including $8.2bn from branded drugs, compared with $6.5bn in 2011.