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As Teva's exclusivity period for its generic version of Allegra expires early next week, analysts expect revenues to be affected but are confident new product launches in the second and third quarter will offset the dent.
"2006 promises to be a great year for Teva. The expected product launches in the second quarter and third quarter will bring in at least 30 cents a share - more than offsetting any marks left by the expiry of the exclusivity period of Allegra's generic version," said Leader & Co. analyst Ori Hershkovits.
That's not to say the loss of the drug won't be felt.
"It will definitely affect Teva. They are going to suffer. Allegra has a 70 percent gross profit margin contribution, which is quite a big number," Hershkovits said. "We may see two or three competitors winning market share and more worrying leading to a change in price."
Similarly Yisca Erez at Clal Finance Batucha said sales of the allergy drug, which are estimated to have contribute between $120m. and $140m. to Teva's sales in the fourth quarter, will slow down.
In September last year, Teva entered into a partnership with US-based Barr Laboratories to launch Fexofenadine Hydrochloride 30 mg, 60 mg and 180 mg tablets, the generic versions of Aventis Pharmaceuticals' Allegra tablets.
Under the agreement, Barr allows Teva to obtain final US Food and Drug Administration approval of its Fexofenadine Hydrochloride tablets, and to sell the product within Barr's 180-day exclusivity period. In return, Barr receives a negotiated percentage of the gross profit of Teva's product, both during and after the exclusivity period.
"We are not worried about the end of the exclusivity period. We don't think we have competitors," Dan Suesskind, Teva's chief financial officer told The Jerusalem Post.
Furthermore, Suesskind stressed that although there is a lack of drug launches in the first quarter (similar to early 2005) the company expects that starting from the second quarter there will be some interesting launches in the pipeline.
Analysts are awaiting generic launches in the second and third quarters for two blockbuster products - Merck & Co Inc.'s cholesterol drug Zocor, which totaled $5.2b. in branded sales in 2004, and Bristol-Myers Squibb's cardiovascular treatment Pravachom which totaled sales of $2.6b. in 2004, in addition to Pfizer's anti-depressant Zoloft with $3.4b. in 2004 sales.