Teva plant in Jerusalem
Teva plant in JerusalemArutz Sheva photo

Israel’s giant Teva Pharmaceuticals has signed a deal with Galena Biopharma to develop and sell NeuVax breast cancer treatment in Israel. Phase II trials for NeuVax will take place in four places, including Israel.

The move is part of a strategic change in Teva’s business model, whose reliance on generic drugs and its Copaxone drug for treatment of  multiple sclerosis faces heavy challenges from generic competitors.

Kaplan Medical Center department of oncology head Dr. Noa Efrat and an investigator for the trial in Israel was quoted by Globes as saying, "We are embarking on a very exciting and innovative venue for the adjuvant treatment of early breast cancer. In this study we are boosting the body's natural immune system to deal with possible residual cancer cells still present. The biological reasoning behind this treatment is sound. We hope that the results of this large randomized study will confirm the encouraging results seen in earlier studies using this agent.”

Galena Biopharma president and CEO Mark Ahn said, "This agreement is the first piece of our global commercialization strategy. Teva is a world-class pharmaceutical company and a major pharmaceutical company in Israel. We look forward to their valuable financial support towards our development goals in Israel, as well as market leadership for NeuVax commercialization in the region."

A combination of the Copaxone drug and generic drugs catapulted Teva to become a star in the medical field and financial circles until a rival generic firm came up with its own formula for Copaxone, exposing Teva over-reliance on the drug.

The new strategy, heralded by the hiring American Jeremy Levin as CEO, is now focused on cutting costs, buying up smaller companies, discontinuing some research programs and targeting new ventures, such as NeuVax.