Teva appears close to Lovenox copy

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is breathing down Momenta's neck. The Israeli generics maker is apparently close to getting FDA approval for its knockoff of the blood thinner Lovenox, and the prospect of another generic competitor has investors spooked. Momenta's stock dropped 17 percent when Teva announced progress on its FDA app.

But the Teva announcement wasn't as clear cut as the aftermath makes it seem. The company said FDA has posed some final questions about its copycat Lovenox. Teva's working on its response, but there's no word on just what questions the agency has asked, or how difficult the answers might be, or how long answering might take. One analyst predicted an approval in two to three months, but noted that the lack of info made predictions pretty shaky.

Nonetheless, Momenta has reason to worry; under its partnership with the Novartis unit Sandoz, it gets 45 percent of the profits so long as there's no other generic rival, Dow Jones reports. After that, royalties drop significantly.

Sanofi-Aventis, which makes the branded version, might well worry, too. The reason Sandoz gets a higher share of profits when another generic hits is because more competition generally means lower prices. As long as the Momenta/Sandoz version is the only copy, its price can remain relatively high, and Lovenox erosion might be tempered. But with another competitor come those lower prices--and potentially, more lost sales for Sanofi.

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