Teva will submit the drug for approval in Israel, once it it approved for marketing in Europe and the United States.
Vevesca is used to treat type I Gaucher disease, a rare genetic disorder in which the body cannot store lipids (fats). The highest incidence of this disease is found among Jews of European origin.
Nomura Bank estimates that there are 4,000 people with this condition, 10% in Israel.
The companies did not disclose financial details but the deal will not land Teva with any immediate revenue, because marketing is not expected to commence before the beginning of 2003.
Genzyme Corporation (Nasdaq:GENZ) is the only drug company with a treatment for type I Gaucher disease. Its medicine is administered by injection, and moreover, it is expensive, costing about $175,000 per patient annually.