Shrugging off the inconclusive results of year-long trials of the oral version of multiple-sclerosis treatment Copaxone, Israeli investment house Gmul Sahar today upgraded Teva Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq:TEVA) (TEVA) - Get Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Limited American Depositary Shares Report stock from Accumulate to Buy.
But analysts Galit Sidemand and Gil Beeri lowered Teva's price target slightly, from $80 to $79.
Copaxone is a non-interferon agent used in the treatment of relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The results of the trials of oral Copaxone, known as Coral, were deemed statistically insignificant mainly subsequent to the low incidence of attacks in all groups, including the control group. Teva will continue to test the drug, but Coral's scheduled launch in 2003 will evidently be delayed.
Investors over-reacted to the Coral disappointment, the Gmul Sahar analysts wrote, sending down Teva stock 20% in two weeks.
Beeri and Sidemand emphasize they never incorporated Coral sales in their forecasts for 2003 in any case, as its launch date was never certain.
Teva's relatively high multiple compared with peer generic drug companies is considered due to its development of proprietary drugs. When the company's non-generic branch suffers, for instance after the disappointing results with Coral, Teva's multiple should shrink.
Gmul Sahar does not negate this theory entirely, but it does stress that Teva's high multiple also derives from the company's habitual fast growth, which is expected to continue in the next few years as more approvals arrive for generic products in the pipeline.