Teva Loses U.S. Patent Appeal for 40mg Version of Copaxone

Business in Brief | Ratio secures loan of up to $400 million for Leviathan development; Shares of Protalix plummet after debt swap; Tel Aviv shares mark fifth session lower.

Ofer Vaknin

Ratio secures loan of up to $400 million for Leviathan development

Financing of the Leviathan natural gas field moved a step forward over the weekend after Ratio – with a 15% stake, the smallest of the field’s partners – reached an agreement to borrow up to $400 million from the banks HSBC and BNP Paribas. The agreement came just a week after Delek Drilling and Avner, Ratio’s two other Israeli partners in the Leviathan field reached terms to borrow $1.75 billion, for their share of the development costs. No interest rate has been yet set for the two-year, limited-recourse loan, but they will be connected to the three-month London interbank offered rate, or Libor. The Leviathan partners, who are led by Texas-based Noble Energy, haven’t taken the final decision on whether to put the field into production as they seek to line up customers in Israel and overseas. However, the decision is expected to be taken soon, with the goal of pumping the first gas in 2020. Ratio shares finished up 1.7% at 30 agorot (8 cents). (Eran Azran)

Teva loses U.S. patent appeal for 40mg version of Copaxone

Teva Pharmaceuticals lost a bid over the weekend to maintain patent protection on its newest version of the Copaxone multiple sclerosis treatment. The U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board confirmed a decision it made in August-September to reject three patents the Israeli drug maker has for the 40-milligram, three-times-a-week version of the drug, which generates $4 billion a year of sales. The three patents under review were supposed to expire only in 2030, but the U.S. Patent Office accepted appeals filed by drug makers Mylan and Amneal, which have generics versions of the 40mg Copaxone of their own. Teva still has more ammunition in the fight, including a fourth patent on the drug and a suit it filed against generic companies in a Delaware court for violating its patents, which won’t be ruled on before the third quarter of 2017. Teva shares dropped 2.7% to 140.10 shekels and was the most active share of the day. (Yoram Gabison)

Shares of Protalix plummet after debt swap

Shares of Protalix plunged Sunday, after it agreed with bondholders to exchange convertible notes due in 2018 for debt due three years later. The agreement buys the biopharmaceutical company time to repay what would have been a $65 million payment due in two years, but at a cost: In place of the $54.1 million in notes paying 4.5%, Protalix agreed to issue $40.2 million of newly issued notes at 7.5% with full collateral. In addition, it agreed to exchange convertible notes that entitled holders to buy Protalix shares at $5.74 each with ones convertible at 85 cents each. The company also agreed to sell to bondholders 23.8 million shares, amounting to 19.3% of the company’s equity and to lace another 22.5 million shares with other institutional investors. All told, the agreements will leave Protalix with $71 million for Phase III clinical trials of its PRX-102 for treating Fabry disease. Protalix shares ended down 36.5% to 1.39 shekels (36 cents). (Yoram Gabison)

Tel Aviv shares mark fifth session lower

Tel Aviv shares ended broadly lower Sunday, marking the fifth straight session of declines. The TA-25 and TA-100 indices both lost about 0.4%, to 1,432.95 and 1,253.39 points, respectively, on thin turnover of just 452 million shekels ($118 million). LivePerson extended its losses for a fourth straight session, dropping 7.7% to 128.20 shekels and bringing its total loss over four trading days to 14%. Spacecom dropped 5.1% to 26.29 amid concerns that Beijing Xinwei may not buy the satellite operator even at a reduced price. Mylan fell 2.2% to 137.80 and TowerJazz lost 2.1% to 67.06, marking its fourth daily loss in five sessions. Meitav Dash rose another 4.9% to 18.09 after jumping 26% Thursday on news that the U.K. private equity fund XIO was buying the investment house. Elbit Systems rose 1.8% to 386.80, and Frutarom advanced 2.6% to 209.20 in heavy trading. The euro strengthened 0.2% on Friday to 4.0822 shekels after reaching a 14-year low the day before. (Shelly Appleberg)