Eli Hurvitz, chairman of Teva Pharmaceuticals, has never been one to think small. "When a company reaches a certain size, it becomes clear that it cannot continue to expand without exposure to international markets," said Hurvitz at a recent Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) conference where Teva was chosen as one of the TASE's five model companies. "The moment institutional investors turn into partners in the ownership of the company, it can turn into a global leader." Hurvitz speaks from plenty of experience, as the man who helped build Teva into the leading generic pharmaceutical maker in the world. In 1964, Hurvitz organized the merger of Assia Pharmaceuticals with Teva and became the new company's president and CEO, serving in those positions until 2002. Very early on, Hurvitz charted a clear path of investment in generic drug production coupled with a hungry appetite for major acquisitions, first in Israel and, beginning in the 1980's, in the United States and elsewhere. Through the 1990's Teva continued to expand and became a major player in the global generic market by adopting an aggressive M&A (merger and acquisition) strategy in the US. This decade also saw the fruits of 10 years of intensive and innovative R&D activities with the launch of flagship drug Copaxone, a treatment for multiple sclerosis. The first innovative drug to be developed in Israel and to receive FDA approval, Copaxone was discovered by Prof. Michael Sela, Prof. Ruth Arnon and Dr. Deborah Teitelbaum at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Today, Copaxone is the leading drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, with sales in nearly 50 countries totaling about $1 billion. The past decade has seen even more M&A activity from Teva, with the latest proposed deal to acquire American women's health drug-maker Barr Pharmaceuticals set at approximately $7.5b. That nearly matches the record set by Teva's 2006 acquisition of drug giant IVEX for the largest-ever acquisitions by an Israeli company. In quarterly profit data released earlier this month, Teva announced earnings of $637 million, up from $525m. a year ago, while its total sales rose 20% to $2.84b. on increased sales of Copaxone and generic drugs. Shlomo Yannai, the current CEO, told Army Radio after the announcement that Teva's policies as well as the relative insulation of the drug market have helped the company continue to thrive despite the global economic downturn. "The results this quarter were very good, because the drug industry is less vulnerable to global volatility then other sectors," said Yannai. "Other than that, we have a strategy with a focus on generics and we have the financial backing needed to prosper."