Teva Shares Rally, Forecast 'Very Strong Launch' for Long-awaited Ajovy Migraine Treatment

The company added that it expected to launch its generic version of the best-selling EpiPen allergy treatment in the current quarter

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.'s headquarters in Jerusalem, Israel, September 19, 2011
Bloomberg

Teva Pharmaceuticals shares rallied Thursday after the drugmaker far exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for third-quarter profits and forecast “a very strong launch” for its long-awaited Ajovy migraine treatment.

The company added that it expected to launch its generic version of the best-selling EpiPen allergy treatment in the current quarter.

The combined news lifted Teva shares 9.9% in Tel Aviv Stock Exchange trading to end at 81.61 shekels ($22.05).

Teva earned $698 million, or 68 cents a share, excluding one-time items, down from $1.00 a year earlier. Revenue fell 19% to $4.53 billion as its top-selling Copaxone multiple sclerosis treatment was hit by generic competition. Lower prices for U.S. generics and a loss of revenue from the sale of some of its product lines and discontinued operations also weighed on sales.

But the results equaled or exceeded analysts’ forecasts of earnings per share of 54 cents on revenue of $4.53 billion, according to I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv. Moreover, Teva raised its full-year forecast for adjusted EPS to $2.80-$2.95, from a previous estimate of $2.55-$2.80.

CEO Kare Schultz, who came to Teva a year ago with the task of turning the troubled company around, sought alleviate concerns about some initial setbacks for Ajovy.

“We’re seeing a very strong launch of Ajovy. There is strong acceptance, including the quarterly dosing,” he told a conference call, noting that the drug offers users quarterly and monthly injection options, while competitors have only monthly.

Express Scripts, one of the largest U.S. prescription benefits managers, said last month it would cover new migraine drugs from Eli Lilly and Amgen only. But Schultz told Reuters that talks with Express Scripts and others were still ongoing.

Regarding EpiPen, he said: “We will be launching in the U.S. in the fourth quarter and then increasing supplies to the market throughout next year.”