from the December 2011 issue

Eli Hurvitz 1932-2011


Eli Hurvitz a kibbutznik who joined the company in a junior management position after graduating in economics and business administration from Hebrew Unoversity in 1957 was destined to transform Teva into a global pharmaceutical house. He pereceived an opportunity to penetrate the US market when the federal Waxman-Hatch Act passed Congress in 1984. This legislation concerned generic drugs, treatments that have lost their patent protection. Also known as multisource or off-patent medicines generics are chemically identical to branded prescription drugs but they are priced 30% to 70% less than patented versions. Hurvitz used the generic segment as Teva's entry into the US pharmaceutical market. In 1985 the company forged an agreement with chemical conglomerate WR Grace to create TAG Pharmaceuticvals, a 50%-50% joint venture. In 1985 TAG acquired the Lemmon a Pennsylavania based company. Lemmon became the sales and distribution arm, for generics manufactured by Teva in Israel. Also CEO Hurvitz latter said " an Israeli is coming to the States as a David and Goliath syndrome. He reminded himself that little David prevailed in that biblical battle. The potential Teva saw in Lemmon soon turned into profits. The US ventures' sales nearly doubled from $17m. at the time of its acquisition to $40m in 1987. By which time it was marketing seven generic ventures of branded drugs.

Copaxone which was formulated in Israel was destined to become a blockbuster drug. For Eli Hurvith the approval of Copaxone by the FDA was one of the great moments in his life and ranks in parallel with his being awarded the Israel Prize.

Under Hurvitz'a leadership Teva has become a global pharmaceutical specializing in the development, production and marketing of generic and proprietary branded pharmaceuticals, as well as active pharmaceutical ingredients.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report December 2011

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