Teva to buy CoGenesys for $400M

Teva just took one giant, $400 million step toward its own stash of biologic drugs. The Israeli generics maker inked a deal to buy CoGenesys, a biotech spin-off of Human Genome Science.

It's a big bet on the eventual development of a regulatory mechanism for copycat biologics in the U.S. Currently, generics makers are restricted to so-called "small-molecule" drugs, but as the market for biotech drugs mushrooms--to more than $60 billion in 2006--they have been moving into that field as well, knowing they'll have to persuade both regulators and Congress that they're capable of producing safe, effective copies. Teva already markets some biopharmaceuticals in other countries, such as interferon alpha 2b; it even sells human growth hormone in the U.S.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Teva has been looking for biotech companies to buy for about a year. "Biopharmaceuticals will be a long-term growth driver for Teva," said CEO Shlomo Yanai hopefully in the company's press release, "and this transaction represents an important spring-board in our efforts to to establish ourselves among the leaders in this market." CoGenesys was a 2007 Fierce 15 company.

- see the release from Teva
- read the Wall Street Journal article

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