Momenta rises thanks to its Copaxone challenger

Generics and biosimilars specialists Momenta has seen its share price rise 13% after analysts at Barclays upgraded its rating.

The analyst firm said the company looked likely to gain final clearance to market its generic version of Teva’s multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer) in the near future.

Copaxone is a blockbuster drug, and is expected to earn in excess of $4 billion this year, but Teva is fighting a losing battle to prevent new generic versions being launched.

Momenta already markets the only US-approved generic version of glatiramer in partnership with Sandoz, Novartis’ generics and biosimilars division. Sandoz and Momenta will be able to launch a three-times-weekly version of Copaxone after a court ruling in August.

Barclays has now increased its guidance from equal weight to overweight, and raised its target price by almost half to $19 per share.

There remains a possibility that Teva could still delay the launch, but Barclays believe the Sandoz and Momenta copy will reach the market within the next two years.

Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Momenta also recently took back the development and marketing rights for a biosimilar version of AbbVie’s Humira biosimilar from Baxalta.

The move came after Baxalta was acquired by Shire, which decided it didn’t want to compete in the heated and highly competitive biosimilar field.

Craig Wheeler, President and CEO of Momenta said Shire’s decision was a significant opportunity for his company to increase earnings, though it will be up against a crowded field of biosimilar competitors.

Top-line results from a phase 3 trial of its Humira biosimilar M923 will be published later this year.

First in the queue to challenge Humira is Amgen, which gained approval for its biosimilar Amjevita in September. However the earliest Amjevita can be launched is March 2017, with AbbVie pursuing all available legal tactics to delay its launch further.

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