Business in Brief: June 14

Knesset c’tee raises royalties from Hot; Teva sues Apotex for patent infringement.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.  (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Knesset c’tee raises royalties from Hot • By ROY BARAK
In the presence of just one member of Knesset, MK Carmel Shama-Hacohen, who is also chairman of the Economics Committee, the saga of cable company Hot’s increased royalties ended on Monday. According to the amendment that was unanimously approved, the state will charge royalties at a rate of 2.5 percent from July 1 until the end of 2011. The company will continue to pay the same rate in 2012. Nitzan Chen, who is chairman of the Council for Cable TV and Satellite Broadcasting that opposes increasing the royalties, said “we recommended not to increase the royalties.
This change contradicts decisions made by experts on the various committees. This is a serious mistake.”
Hot currently pays the state royalties of 1% of its yearly revenue. The government decided to change the regulations and to increase royalties to 1.75% of revenue this year and to increase it to 2.5% next year. Following a short discussion that lasted only nine minutes, the Knesset Economics Committee approved the increase in royalties from 1% in 2010 to 1.75% for 2011, which will be split into two parts: 1% for the first half of the year and 2.5% for the second half, starting July 1. According to government representatives who were present at the discussion, 2011 was split into two parts so that the state won’t begin the increase in royalties retroactively for the first six months of 2011.
The committee also decided that Hot will pay the state royalties of 2.5% for all of 2012. In addition, it was decided that, if during this period seven DTT channels are established, the state will revert to collecting royalties at a rate of only 1%.
Teva sues Apotex for patent infringement • By SHIRI HABIB-VALDHORN
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Canadian drug development company Apotex Inc. with the US District Court for the District of New Jersey. The lawsuit was filed after Apotex applied to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to market a generic version of Azilect, Teva’s brand treatment for Parkinson’s disease.
Azilect had $318 million in sales in 2010, and $90 million in sales in the first quarter of 2011. Teva’s statement of claim says that Azilect’s US patents are valid through February 2017. The US patents were granted in 1995 to Azilect’s inventors, and Teva now owns the rights to the drug under an agreement with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology.
Apotex is not the first company that Teva has sued for infringing its Azilect patent. Eight months ago, it sued Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mylan Inc., and India’s Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd., after they submitted generic versions of the drug to the FDA for approval. Under US law, the defendants cannot market their versions of a drug until a certain period has passed, which in the case of these three companies is November 2013, unless the court rules in their favor beforehand.
A launch of generic Azilect, therefore, still seems far off.
In June 2008, Teva announced that the clinical trial of Azilect achieved all its endpoints, and that it can delay the development of Parkinson’s disease. All current Parkinson’s treatments, including Azilect, only treat symptoms of the disease. On the basis of the study’s results, Teva asked to change Azilect’s indication. If and when the application is approved, Azilect will become the first drug approved for delaying Parkinson’s, which could boost the drug’s sales.
The FDA has yet to approve the change.
Teva’s share price fell 0.2 percent in premarket trading to $48.93, giving a market cap of $46 billion, but rose 0.1% by mid-afternoon on the TASE to NIS 167.20.