Interview Synopsis

Teva speciality medicines – Copaxone, Austedo and Ajovy

  • Multi Asset
  • Healthcare
  • Europe

Until about 10-15 years ago, Teva Pharmaceuticals Ltd was "in theory" a generics company. Although generics still make up the majority of their output, it also produces a range of patented drugs. One of these, Copaxone, was a “cash cow” for the company. However, it has lost market share as generic versions became available. To see if Teva can fill the gap from this decline and learn more about its specialist offerings, Third Bridge spoke to a former VP from the company.

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Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) is a treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS). About 2.3m people around the world have MS, and there are four major categories of the condition. There is a lot of competition in the market. For instance, Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), from Genentech, is the “first and only that can treat two types of MS” and “the only approved treatment to target CD20-positive patients”, but it is “really, really expensive”. 

Meanwhile, Sandoz and Mylan are coming out with their own generic versions of glatiramer acetate. Over time, the specialist thinks that Copaxone will hold its ground. The way it is made gives it an edge: “there are some genetics data that show that the way that they actually produce competition of the generics, is a little bit different from the way that is produced for Copaxone, so eventually doctors will stay with Copaxone.” 

Austedo (deutetrabenazine) is another patented drug from Teva. It is the only medication approved to treat chorea caused by Huntingdon’s disease and tardive dyskinesia. There is general consensus that the drug will reach peak sales of USD 700m in 2022. But the specialist thinks it will bring in over USD 1bn. 

The discussion then turned to Ajovy (fremanezumab), which is used to treat migraine. The specialist agrees with the consensus for its peak sales. There are three other drugs with similar efficiency and these will take a similar market share, although Eli Lilly’s offering can also be used to treat cluster headaches.

To access all the human insights from Third Bridge’s Teva Speciality Medicines Interview, click below to view the full transcript.

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