Teva looks set for a new round of M&A deals

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Don't be too surprised if Teva starts to make fresh headlines on the M&A side of the business. CEO Shlomo Yanai is telling reporters  the company is acutely aware of just how badly it needs to diversify its product base to cover falling revenue from its MS franchise. And with star Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) dealmaker Jeremy Levin taking the helm from Yanai in May, analysts are buzzing about whether Teva ($TEVA) is thinking of pulling the trigger on a Shire takeover.

"Our answer is not just in developing drugs but in reducing our dependence on this product," Yanai told a news conference today, according to a report in Reuters. And Levin's looming arrival indicates for many that Teva sees a big future on the branded side of the biopharma business.

Revenue from branded drugs jumped 68% in the fourth quarter, a boost delivered by new drugs acquired in its Cephalon takeover. "During 2011 we made important progress in reaching our strategic goals with the acquisitions of Cephalon and Taiyo, and the creation of a unique joint venture with Procter & Gamble," Yanai told a news conference while covering the company's fourth quarter results. Its profits dropped 34% on acquisition costs.

Teva has had its own problems in drug development. Laquinimod, its next-gen MS treatment, recently flunked a late-stage study. And now Teva is working with regulators to design a new study for the therapeutic. Yanai says that Teva has a strong pipeline of experimental drugs.

- read the Reuters report
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