Shares of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries rose after the company posted data showing its Parkinson’s drug Azilect can slow progression of the disease. Teva said that it will submit the study data to regulatory authorities in the U.S. to get Azilect’s labeling changed to include disease modification. Currently it is approved to treat symptoms of the disease. Credit Suisse analyst Marc Goodman expects Azilect to gain approval for the disease modification indication in 2010. He also boosted his 2012 sales forecast for Azilect to $500 million from $325 million. Cowen & Co. analyst Ken Cacciatore said that the results could boost use of the drug, which he said only commands 1.1 percent of the Parkinson’s drug market, even before the additional indication is approved.

In an interview, Moshe Manor, Teva’s group vice president for global innovative resources, said: “We believe that Azilect will become a foundation treatment for Parkinson’s disease patients starting at a very early stage. It has very significant potential for Teva. We believe the results will increase usage of the product by neurologists.” Until a label change is approved, the company cannot promote Azilect for that use. However, physicians are free to prescribe it as they see fit since it is already on the market. Teva, which had 2007 sales of $9.41 billion, is primarily known for making generic drugs but also has proprietary products such as Azilect and multiple-sclerosis treatment Copaxone.

Noa Weisberg, an analyst at Israel Brokerage & Investments in Tel Aviv raised her peak sales forecast for Azilect to $1 billion, compared with earlier analyst estimates $200 million to $300 million. Specifically, Noa Weisberg said: “It’s going to be a blockbuster, easily. This is very good news, not just for investors, but also for patients.”

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