Teva to stop research in women's health, oncology with cost savings directed to CNS, respiratory focus

Teva announced Monday that following a strategic review, the company will end R&D in areas outside of its core focus of central nervous system (CNS) and respiratory diseases, including stopping research in women's health and oncology. CEO Erez Vigodman noted that the drugmaker "is committed to being a world-leader in CNS and respiratory, both areas underpinned by significant and growing unmet patient needs."

Vigodman, who was appointed as Teva chief executive earlier this year, noted "out of the 30-plus product launches we anticipate by 2019, with a total of over $4 billion in new revenue on a risk-adjusted basis, over 20 products will be launched in these two core therapeutic areas" of CNS and respiratory. The company is focused on disorders such as multiple sclerosis, neurodegenerative diseases and pain, as well as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and asthma. Last month, the drugmaker announced plans to submit the experimental asthma drug reslizumab for regulatory approval beginning in the first half of next year after reporting positive late-stage data.

Teva said it has identified 14 pipeline projects for discontinuation or divestment, with resulting cost savings of more than $150 million in 2015 and over $200 million for each of 2016 and 2017. The company noted that the cost savings will be directed, in part, to increasing resources in its core therapeutic areas, while also supporting plans to trim annual expenses by approximately $2 billion by the end of 2017. According to the company, the increased investment in CNS and respiratory is expected to increase R&D productivity without affecting the overall research budget.

Teva indicated that in women's health and oncology, where it already markets drugs, it will focus on "market-ready or close-to-market assets to maximise sustainable profitability." However, the company said it will continue to evaluate opportunities for commercially-oriented activities and collaborations. The drugmaker added that additional details of the strategic review will be provided as part of its upcoming earnings report.

The news comes as Teva is anticipating generic competition for Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) after the US patent on the daily version of the multiple sclerosis therapy expired in May. Earlier this year, the company filed a citizen petition with the FDA regarding the agency's procedures for approval of a generic form of the drug. Meanwhile, an FDA application from Mylan for a generic version of the three-times-a-week formulation of Copaxone, which was cleared by the regulator in January, was accepted for review by the agency in August. For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Generic Copaxone landscape shifts again as slew of ANDAs filed for 3TW version.

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