|Teva (TEVA) CEO Shlomo Yanai is stepping down|
|By Staff and Wire Reports|
|Monday, 02 January 2012 19:27|
After helping Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. (NYSE:BMY) acquire new drugs in a bid to offset the expected loss of revenue from its top-selling blood thinner Plavix, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NASDAQ:TEVA)’s chief executive officer- designate Jeremy Levin faces the same task at the Israeli drugmaker.
Levin, 58, will replace retiring Teva CEO Shlomo Yanai, 59, in May, the Petach Tikva-based company said yesterday. Teva, the world’s biggest maker of generic drugs, needs new sources of sales as its No. 1 drug, a branded multiple sclerosis medicine called Copaxone, faces competition from newer treatments.
Yanai is stepping down after Teva’s shares last year plunged the most since 2006. A former Israeli army general with no previous pharmaceutical experience, he sought to broaden Teva’s portfolio of innovative medicines with the $6.5 billion acquisition of U.S. biotechnology company Cephalon Inc. last year, then told investors in December that Teva may not meet its long-term target of $31 billion in sales by 2015.
“He’s the perfect guy for this,” Ori Hershkovitz, a Tel Aviv-based partner at Sphera Funds Management Ltd., said of Levin in a phone interview yesterday. “If Jeremy can do one or two good product selections as he has done in the past for Bristol-Myers, that will be very, very good for Teva.” Sphera owns Teva shares.
Teva rose 3.3 percent to 160.60 shekels at the close in Tel Aviv yesterday, the stock’s biggest increase in two months. The more actively traded American depositary receipts lost 21 percent in 2011 including reinvested dividends, compared with (TEVA) an 11 percent return for the Bloomberg EMEA Pharmaceuticals Index.
Levin, a Cambridge University-educated physician who worked at New York-based Bristol-Myers as senior vice president for strategy, said in a press conference in Tel Aviv yesterday that he will work closely with Yanai to achieve an “orderly transition.”
“There are some parallels between Bristol-Myers from a few years ago and Teva,” Les Funtleyder, a New York-based portfolio manager for Miller Tabak & Co., said in an e-mail yesterday. “BMY had to come up with a new strategy to deal with slow sales and looming patents.”
At Bristol-Myers, Levin helped oversee the so-called “string of pearls” policy of partnerships and smaller acquisitions to replace revenue that will be lost when Plavix, a blood thinner, faces generic competition in the U.S. this year. Analysts predict the drug had $7.2 billion of sales in 2011, based on the average of three estimates (BMY) compiled by Bloomberg.
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