Mixed Blessing: Teva and Israeli Biotech
This article was originally published in Start Up
Teva is keeping the Israeli biotech industry alive -- while Big Pharma by and large ignores its technological riches. But without some competition for financing and development support, the industry is hardly likely to flourish. The disastrous case of Proneuron and its IP on Copaxone, Teva's biggest drug, highlights the problems for Israeli start-ups when one company dominates the partnering scene.
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As albuterol patients switch from inhalers containing chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) to those using hydrofluoroalkane (HFA) as a propellant, Teva's ProAir has taken the vast majority of the scripts. "By the end of the third quarter, 80 percent of the market had switched, with Teva's ProAir capturing 66 percent of the switchers," Teva CEO Shlomo Yanai said on the company's earnings call Nov. 6. FDA is mandating the switchover as part of the global effort to eliminate ozone-harming CFC, and the regulatory move has given brands an opportunity to try to reclaim a market segment that had become mostly generic (1"The Pink Sheet," June 9, 2008, p. 14). ProAir has the lowest wholesale acquisition cost of the four HFA inhalers on the market, but at $29.37 it is still more than twice what CFC versions cost. Counting switches and starts, "ProAir continues to increase its leadership of the HFA market with 59 percent market share in Q3 growing into 61 percent by the end of October," Yanai noted. CFC inhalers can't be sold after the end of the year, and Teva is anticipating "excellent" sales for ProAir in the fourth quarter as the remaining 20 percent of the market switches over. But unless the firm's market share improves significantly, the switch process will still have increased brand penetration, since generics held about 70 percent of the market before the transition began
How much do you know about follow-on biologics? You can find your score on the knowledge meter by playing Teva's online board game 1biologicsland.com
Any legislation creating a pathway for approving follow-on biologics will need to include a brand exclusivity period of less than 10 years, Teva North America CEO William Marth maintains