Don't let it get away!
Help yourself with the Fool's FREE and easy new watchlist service today.
For now, Momenta Pharmaceuticals (Nasdaq: MNTA ) , Novartis (NYSE: NVS ) , and Mylan (Nasdaq: MYL ) will have to wait until 2015 to try to grab some of the nearly $4 billion market for Teva Pharmaceuticals' (NYSE: TEVA ) multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone.
Momenta, which is partnered with Novartis, Mylan, and India-based Natco Pharmaceuticals, lost its lawsuit aimed at invalidating the patents on Copaxone. Momenta is down 22%, Novartis and Mylan are down a little, and Teva is up 5%, which all makes sense considering the relative effect the drug has on their future.
Teva is dependent on Copaxone, not just because it made up 18% of the company's sales last quarter, but because the brand-name drug produces a higher profit margin than Teva's generic drugs, making Copaxone an even larger contributor to the bottom line.
Unlike Mylan and Novartis, which have multiple generic and brand-name drugs, Momenta only has one other drug, a generic version of Sanofi's Lovenox. Doubling its revenue streams with a generic version of Copaxone will have to wait until 2015.
Still, a 22% drop seems a little extreme for a three-year delay, especially since Momenta and Novartis weren't going to launch immediately even if they won the case; the FDA hasn't approved their copycat yet, and if they won, they were expecting Teva to appeal, which likely would have delayed the launch for a year anyway. Momenta will likely appeal the decision, so the companies could still launch in the 2013 time frame if they can get a little help from the higher court.
If that appeal fails, the issue for the generic-drug makers is how much of the nearly $4 billion Copaxone market will be eroded during the delay. Oral multiple sclerosis drugs from Biogen Idec (Nasdaq: BIIB ) , Sanofi, and Teva are likely to be approved soon. The market might look considerably different in 2015.