Huntington’s drug sales help Teva Pharma beat profit estimates

By Steven Scheer

JERUSALEM (Reuters) -Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on Wednesday reported higher than expected second-quarter profit, boosted by a sharp gain in sales of its Austedo treatment for Huntington’s disease that helped send its shares rose as much as 14%.

Chief Executive Richard Francis, who took the reins at the start of the year, is betting a trio of the group’s branded drugs – Austedo, migraine product Ajovy and the just launched schizophrenia drug Uzedy – will help Teva bounce back from a rough few years.

The world’s largest generics drugmaker has struggled over the past 5-6 years to recover from the loss of exclusivity to its blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone and to cut $35 billion of debt as it also fought a spate of lawsuits alleging it helped fuel the U.S. opioid epidemic.

It expects Austedo sales of around $1.2 billion in 2023, up from $971 million last year and projects they would reach $2.5 billion by 2027 since the drug could also help the nearly 800,000 people suffering from tardive dyskenisa, a condition Francis said was under-diagnosed.

“As we remain determined to execute on our growth strategy, we are continuing to focus on our late-stage innovative pipeline delivery and early-stage pipeline development, both organically and through collaborations,” Francis said in a statement.

The Israel-based company’s Uzedy treatment had a U.S. market size of $4 billion with significant sales not expected until 2024, he said.

It earned 56 cents per diluted share excluding one-time items in the April-June quarter, down from 68 cents per share a year earlier.

Revenue rose 2% to $3.9 billion, with Austedo sales up 51% in North America to $308 million. Migraine treatment Ajovy’s sales rose 16% to $57 million.

Analysts had forecast Teva would earn 53 cents a share ex-items on revenue of $3.71 billion, I/B/E/S data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

Teva revised its 2023 revenue forecast to $15.0-$15.4 billion from $14.8-$15.4 billion, after 2022 revenue of $14.9 billion. It maintained its forecast for adjusted earnings per share of $2.25-$2.55, versus $2.52 in 2022.

Net debt slipped to $18 billion from $20 billion in the prior year.

(Reporting by Steven Scheer; Editing by Jason Neely, Mark Potter and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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