A Deep Dive into Teva Pharma Financials Shows Significant Weakness and Optimism


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Last week, Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical released what tried to be an optimistic second-quarter financial report. Despite revenues that had decreased by 18 percent and softening sales of its biggest product, Copaxone, the company’s president and chief executive officer Kare Schultz said, “I am satisfied with our progress in the second quarter. The restructuring program is on schedule, we have already achieved a significant cost base reduction towards our target for the year and we continue to reduce our net debt.”

Investors and analysts, taking a deeper look at the company, do not appear to be nearly as optimistic. CTech, for example, noted that, “Over the past six quarters Teva’s North American sales have been in free fall. The company’s operating profit is in even worse shape. Mylan’s decision to slash the price tag on its generic Copaxone offering further threatens Teva’s revenues, meaning the company must hurry to provide the three potential trump cards it has up its sleeve.” Those trump cards are two possible strong products and major cost-cutting measures.

Much of the company’s troubles appears to be how hard it is being hit by cuts in generic drug prices, although some of it is related to Teva’s operations. The company picked up Actavisgeneric business in 2016 for $40.5 billion. It appears that Teva may have been overly optimistic about this area’s profitability. In the first quarter of this year, Teva launched 10 generic drugs, but only one in the second quarter. CTech writes, “Teva’s first quarter generic sales in the U.S. were buoyed by the high sales of its exclusive generic version for Viagra, but those sales took a hit in the second quarter due to increasing competition.”

The company indicated it planned to launch 10 to 15 generics in the U.S. in the last five months of this year, and only launched one in July. Pricing pressures in the U.S. have eased up a bit since the second half of last year, so it is possible things will improve.

The company’s legal problems haven’t gone away either. Teva and Eli Lilly have been battling in court over five patents owned by Teva for its migraine drug fremanezumab. Lilly has a competing product, galcanezumab. Both are CGRP inhibitors. Lilly recently filed for an inter partes review of the five patents. Fremanezumab isn’t on the market yet, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has a target action date of September 16, 2018, for the drug. Although, lawsuits notwithstanding, this looks promising, it’s not without its other hiccups. Celltrion’s manufacturing plant in South Korea, where fremanezumab is being made, received a warning letter earlier this year from the FDA after an inspection. However, a reinspection also found eight “observations,” ranging from failing to have written procedures for vial breakage to insufficiently trained employees. Celltrion said the citations were “manageable and correctable inspection observations” and believe they have it under control and won’t affect the PDUFA date.

It’s one of two drugs the company has a lot riding on, though, even if there will be competition from Lilly’s galcanezumab if it is approved, and Amgen, whose Aimovig was approved in the U.S. in May.

The other strong hopes for Teva are Austedo, a brand name drug for dyskinesia, which had sales of $44 million in the second quarter and continues to grow. It has a possibility of hitting $500 million in peak annual sales.

Teva’s cost-cutting and restructuring, as painful as it is, with 14,000 job cuts and the shuttering of half of its global manufacturing sites, is likely to help turn the company around. This should provide relief from its debt load, although some of the asset divestment and portfolio streamlining is likely to affect revenues, too, but should improve operating profit in 2019 and 2020.

Meanwhile, the company is moving its U.S. headquarters from North Wales, Pennsylvania to Parsippany, New Jersey. And Schultz, the sixth chief executive to try turn the company around since 2012, tries to assure investors that the company is on track. And although it did return to profitability in the first half of this year, revenue is still down 14 percent from last year.

New Jersey offered the company $40 million in potential tax breaks to get the company to move its U.S. headquarters there, which economist Joel Naroff told App looked reasonable given the spending power company employees bring with them, “assuming, of course, Teva survives.”

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