Teva Pharmaceuticals (TEVA 3.19%) has a new treatment it can market. The company's Actavis Generics unit has been granted Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its Pemetrexed chemotherapy treatment, which combats lung cancer.

An injectable form of the drug has been approved as a single agent for use in patients with "locally advanced or metastatic non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) that has not progressed after four cycles of first-line platinum-based chemo[therapy]."

Cancer attacking an organism.

Image source: Getty Images.

The injection was also granted approval, again as a single agent, to treat recurrent, metastatic non-squamous NSCLC in patients who received prior chemotherapy.

Teva has not yet commented on the FDA approval. 

Pemetrexed is a generic salt form of a high-profile lung cancer drug, Alimta, which was developed and marketed by Eli Lilly (LLY 1.71%) and became a top seller for that company. It was the focus of a contentious 2014 patent case in the U.K., in which Actavis prevailed. Since then, however, Eli Lilly has won various patent infringement suits related to Alimta. Its patent expires in May 2022.

Teva acquired Actavis Generics in 2016.

In development since 2000, Alimta was first approved by the FDA in 2004, in combination with chemotherapy agent cisplatin, to treat malignant pleural mesothelioma. This is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the lungs. Alimta was the first drug to win approval for this disease.

Despite the news, Teva shares were not an investor favorite on Monday. They fell by 2.6% on the day, in contrast to the gains of the top equity indexes.