Teva's Huntington's Disease Drug Approved Monday, Second Drug Ever Approved For Chorea

By Emma Court Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. got its Huntington's disease drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration late Monday. The drug, Austedo, is the second drug ever approved for chorea, the writhing movements nearly all Huntington's disease patients experience. Austedo should be available in the U.S. in the next three weeks, Teva said. The drug is expected to cost about $60,000 a year, below the $152,000-a-year list price of Xenazine, the first drug approved for chorea, and the $96,000-a-year price of generic Xenazine, according to Leerink analyst Jason Gerberry, who lauded Austedo's price tag as "sensible." Still, commercial expectations for the drug are "relatively modest," according to Bernstein analyst Ronny Gal, adding that the company needs more drug successes for investor sentiment to improve. Austedo, though it carries black box warnings like competitor Xenazine, has slightly better label information, including lesser rates of depression and suicide ideation and no language warning doctors about heightened suicide risk, noted EvercoreISI analyst Umer Raffat. Raymond James analyst Elliot Wilbur called the Monday approval a "big win" but noted that investors have been concerned about Teva's blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone. Teva shares slumped 0.2% in Tuesday morning trade, compared with a 0.14% slump in the S&P 500 . Teva shares have declined 14.9% over the last three months, compared with a 3.7% rise in the S&P 500.

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