(Bloomberg) -- Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is exploring options including a potential sale for its treatment for inflammatory bowel disease, looking to capitalize on industry excitement about immunology drugs, according to people familiar with the matter.
The Israel-based drugmaker is working with advisers to weigh a sale or partnership of the anti-TL1A treatment it’s developing for ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, said the people who asked to not be identified because the matter isn’t public. All options are on the table, the process is still early and a resolution could be months away, one of the people said.
There’s no certainty deliberations will result in a deal and Teva could opt to keep the mid-stage asset, for now called “TEV 48574,” the people said. It’s not clear how much it could fetch in sale.
Teva fell 3.1% to $7.34 at 3:46 p.m. in New York trading Thursday, giving the company a market value of $8.2 billion.
A representative for Teva declined to comment.
Teva is among several companies developing an antibody that blocks a protein called TL1A that’s thought to play a role in autoimmune disease.
Interest in the drug class has increased since Merck & Co. said in April it would shell out $10.8 billion to buy Prometheus Biosciences Inc. primarily for its IBD treatment, which is expected to generate billions of dollars in revenue. Pfizer Inc. and Roivant Sciences Ltd are developing a similar drug that’s in mid-stage trials.
Teva showcased the treatment as one of its “key pipeline assets” at an investor day in May and said it sees the IBD market reaching $25 billion by 2028, according to a presentation.
“There’s a lot of excitement around TL1A — everybody is talking about it, and it seems like everybody wants one,” Teva Chief Executive Officer Richard Francis said at the time, according to a transcript of the event. He added that the company is focused on “accelerating that through the clinic ourselves and getting that to the market as soon as we can.”
Teva’s version of the drug is not as far along in clinical trials as Prometheus’s so likely wouldn’t command as high of a price in a sale, the people said. The company said it expects to publish interim data for phase 2 trials of the treatment next year.
Teva, one of the world’s largest makers of generic drugs, unveiled a long-term strategy shift last week that will see it focus more on developing innovative products and biosimilars, or copycats of expensive biologic drugs. It also said it plans to cut back manufacturing of generic drugs to shore up finances.
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