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Teva Pharma readies new strategy as Frost signals change in M&A interests

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At Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Jeremy Levin championed the "String of Pearls" strategy that was credited with some smart takeovers. Now at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical ($TEVA), Levin is expected to roll out a strategy update next month called "Project Spring," Bloomberg reported. Teva, which wants to build up its portfolio of novel drugs, could be looking for a new start.

As Chairman Phillip Frost told Bloomberg, Israel-based Teva is steering away from the type of multibillion-dollar buyouts that fed its growth for many years in favor of smaller deals that could boost its capacity to advance new treatments to market. "There is the opportunity for product acquisitions, for small company acquisitions, for technology acquisitions, and to bring in new people who themselves are capable of creating the new products," Frost told the news service.

This year Teva brought in Levin, the former chief of strategy at Bristol, in part because of his experience with novel medicines. His team also appointed Dr. Michael Hayden to serve as president of R&D in May, bringing aboard a physician scientist who has founded three biotech companies. While the details of Levin's "Project Spring," will be revealed Dec. 11, Frost makes clear that Teva is interested in sowing the seeds for a crop of new products, acting more like a pioneering biotech outfit than a maker of copycat generics.

"There is room for a lot of creativity at this point," Frost told Bloomberg in Miami. "The creativity will go along with experience."

Teva is showing an interest in relatively small deals that could nonetheless have a profound impact on its business down the road. Armed with some promising trial data, Teva scooped up a potential drug for symptoms of Huntington's disease from Danish company NeuroSearch in a $26 million deal announced in September.

As a full-fledged pharma company, Teva, one of the world's largest makers of generic drugs, will face competition from knockoffs of its top-selling multiple sclerosis med Copaxone. This could call for creative drug development and M&A moves.

- here's Bloomberg's article

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