UPDATED: Three launches this year just the beginning of Teva turnaround, CEO says

Teva CEO Erez Vigodman

Three new drug launches in 2014 won't save Teva's ($TEVA) sales if generics attack Copaxone later this week. But they certainly will help.

Those launches are just what the Israeli company has on the way, CEO Erez Vigodman told a conference Friday, according to Reuters. And that trio--comprising migraine patch Zecuity, Symbicort generic DuoResp Spiromax, and Adasuve, an inhalation powder to treat agitation in schizophrenia patients--will ultimately combine for peak sales of $1 billion, estimates say.

Of course, that's just one piece of the Israeli drugmaker's plan to get back on track after patent woes, restructuring plans, labor protests, management changes and shareholder unrest rocked the company in the past several months. Vigodman said earlier this month that Teva wants to refocus on its generics business and plunge into the biosimilars race. M&A isn't out of the question, either, and rumors listed Teva as a suitor for India's Cipla just a couple of weeks ago.

"To build a new future for Teva, you need long-term value," Vigodman said Wednesday, as quoted by Israeli newspaper Globes. "This is done by strengthening infrastructures, fulfilling the potential of existing products, the ability to identify discontinuities and attack dogma and find unmet needs all over the world."

But the short term, that extra billion in sales could help soothe a top line that may soon be hurting. Best-seller Copaxone, which is responsible for more than half the company's profits and pushed Teva's sales up 2% in the first quarter with a haul of $1.07 billion, is set to lose its IP shield on May 24, freeing generics teams to launch their versions.

Still, thanks to early success of a new, long-acting version of the drug, "it looks like Copaxone will have a much longer life than previously thought," according to John Park, comanager of Jackson Park Capital's Oakseed Opportunity Fund. "Generics will be approved at some point, but it's no longer going to be devastating," he told Bloomberg.

There's a risk for Teva's challengers there, too, if they decide to push their generics forward. If the Supreme Court sides with Teva after hearing its appeal in a patent infringement case, copycats will have to pay damages--and that may be enough to deter them.

"I don't think the generic companies will launch," BMO Capital Markets analyst David Maris told Bloomberg. "Because we're talking about only two or three generic competitors, if they were to lose, the damages would be very substantial."

- see the Reuters story
- see Bloomberg's take
- get more from Globes

Special Reports: Top 10 Generics Makers by 2012 Revenue - Teva | Top 10 Drug Patent Losses of 2014 - Copaxone

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include quotes from Bloomberg.