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Momenta Pharma rises following upgrade from UBS

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Momenta Pharmaceuticals Inc. jumped Thursday after a UBS analyst upgraded the shares, saying she thinks it's more likely the company will be able to start selling a generic version of the multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone in the next few years.

THE SPARK: Analyst Ami Fadia raised her rating on the shares to "Buy" from "Neutral" and increased her price target to $17 per share from $13. Fadia said the company is in good position to become an important maker of generic biotech drugs. She said she upgraded the shares because she now believes there is a better chance Moment can get its generic version of Copaxone approved by the time the drug's patents expire in September 2015.

She said it is possible Momenta could be allowed to launch a generic in May 2014 if it gets a favorable ruling in its litigation against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., which makes Copaxone.

THE BIG PICTURE: Momenta's anti-clotting drug Lovenox began facing generic competition in early 2012. The company took a loss for the year and its sales plunged 77 percent to about $64 million. Generic competition hurt the company's sales, reduced prices of the drug, and reduced the payments Momenta gets from its partner Sandoz.

Copaxone is the world's best-selling multiple sclerosis treatment. Teva reported $4 billion in sales in 2012, up 19 percent from the year before.

Momenta said it expects a federal appeals court to make a decision on its generic Copaxone litigation in the second half of the year. The Cambridge, Mass., company is also still in litigation over generic versions of Lovenox.

SHARE ACTION: Momenta shares rose 90 cents, or 7.1 percent, to $13.62. As of Thursday's close, the stock had gained 12 percent since May 8.