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Copaxone Faces New Threat From Pfizer

Perion shares rally on earnings surprise and TASE launches program for small-cap stocks

An employee collects newly-manufactured pills at the tablet production plant at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.
An employee collects newly-manufactured pills at the tablet production plant at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel.Credit: Bloomberg

Teva Pharmaceuticals is about to face a big new competitor for its best-selling multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone.

The U.S. drug giant Pfizer said it had acquired exclusive rights in the United States to commercialize glatiramer acetate, a potential generic version of Copaxone from Synthon, a developer of complex generic medicines. The agreement, whose financial terms weren’t disclosed, covers not only a generic version of the older 20-milligram formulation of Copaxone but the newer, 40 milligram version Teva has been banking on to extend the life of its proprietary product.

Synthon has awaited 20-milligram approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration since 2011, and last year applied for 40-milligram clearance, too.

Shares of Teva, which derived 44% of its operating profit in the second quarter from Copaxone, dropped 0.2%, to end at 260 shekels ($68.93). In related news, Teva said yesterday it had acquired 51% of the genomic-analysis company Immuneering for a sum that could reach $62.5 million. (Yoram Gabison)

Perion shares rally on earnings surprise

Shares of Perion Network, whose technology enables online publishers and app developers to monetize applications and content, rallied Monday after it beat analysts’ expectations for earnings and revenue, and signaled a strong outlook.

Not counting one-time items and stock-compensation costs, the company said second-quarter net profit was $9.5 million, or 13 cents a share, down from 39 cents a share a year earlier but 2 cents higher than analysts had expected, according to a survey by Capital IQ. Revenues were also down to $48.6 million, from $109.5 million, but above consensus estimates of $42.4 million.

Perion said third-quarter revenues would be between $45 million and $48 million, ahead of the $40.2 million Capital IQ’s survey predicted. “Our supply-side monetization business has stabilized, and we expect our third quarter revenues to be consistent with second quarter levels, before returning to growth in the fourth quarter,” said CEO Josef Mandelbaum. Perion shares rose 4.8% to end at 10.21 shekels ($2.71). (TheMarker)

Stock exchange launches program for small-cap stocks

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange took a step toward making itself friendlier for small-cap companies, especially high-tech startups, with the launch Sunday of its TASE IR Desk program.

Under the program, qualified listed companies will be entitled to up to 15,000 shekels ($3,976) annually for investor-relations services provided by an outside agency/provider, free use of TASE facilities for investors/analysts’ conferences once a year, and free access to The Stocker, an online institutional investors’ database.

“I hope this support will also encourage companies that do not engage in IR activities on a regular basis to develop this area, strengthen their status, regularly engage with their existing investors and recruit new investors,” said Hani Shitrit-Bach, TASE’s senior vice president for economics.

The bourse has been trying to stem a decline in listings and increase trading volumes by, among other things, attracting more high-tech companies. (TheMarker)

Leumi sells $120m of Israel Corp. stock in market

Bank Leumi offloaded 450 million shekels ($119.3 million) of Israel Corporation stock Monday, TheMarker has learned, sending the holding company’s shares down 5.1% to 1,250 shekels, in unusually heavy trading of 553 million shekels.

Leumi sold the stock at a 5% discount to Israel Corp.’s opening price, or 1,251 shekels each. The bank has been gradually divesting its stake in the holding group, led by Idan Ofer, to meet the terms of the 2014 Business Concentration Law and is now expected to be left with just 6%, down from 11.06% before the latest sale and 18% at its peak. It was the second time Leumi sold a similarly sized block of shares, after a sale of about 450 million shekels in February. (Eran Azran)

TA-25 closes at record high again

The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange’s TA-25 index ended at a record high after a several-day-long retreat from its previous peak, pushed higher by banks and telecoms shares.

The benchmark index ended at 1,718.07 points, up 0.2% for the day, while the TA-100 added 0.2% to 1,482.75, in heavy trading of 1.79 billion shekels ($475 million). Bank Leumi rose 1.5% to end at 16.80 and Bank Hapoalim ahead 1.9% at 21.45, while telecoms shares Cellcom Israel added 1.6%, to 23.63, and Partner Communications 1.2% to 15.92. Elbit Systems climbed 1.8% to 318 shekels after it said it was awarded a $10 million contract from an unnamed customer.

Leading the decliners, Israel Chemicals tumbled 3.9% to 24.68 shekels. The bond market was quiet, with the government’s 10-year shekel bond rising just 0.03% to leave its yield at 2.28%. (Eran Azran)

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