DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (TEVA, TEVA.TV) has received U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to market the first generic version of Forest Laboratories Inc.'s (FRX) Lexapro for adults.
The generic drug--escitalopram--is approved to treat depression and generalized anxiety disorder.
The world's biggest manufacturer of generic drugs said Wednesday it has been granted a 180-day period of generic-drug exclusivity, which means the FDA can't approve another generic version of escitalopram tablets before the end of that period.
Teva, which has diversified into brand-name and over-the-counter drugs, in February expected sales growth for its U.S. generics business to outpace market growth during 2012.
Lexapro has been Forest Labs's main money maker. The company in January reported Lexapro sales of $593 million for its fiscal third quarter.
Teva last month reported that its fourth-quarter profit declined 34%, as higher acquisition-related costs more than offset a revenue increase fueled by last year's purchase of Cephalon Inc.
-By Tess Stynes, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2481; Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com