Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries entered an agreement to buy U.S.-based Ivax Corp. today for $7.4 billion in cash and stock options. The deal will restore Teva to the top position among generic drug makers – Teva was overtaken earlier this year when Novartis acquired Germany's Hexal and Eon Labs of the U.S. for $8.3 billion. Ivax is the world's fourth-largest generics company by sales and had revenues of $1.8 billion in 2004. Teva's sales totaled $4.8 billion last year. Analysts from Citigroup Smith Barney told The Wall Street Journal they estimate the value of branded drugs sold in the U.S. facing patent expiration will rise close to $20 billion next year, from around $14 billion in 2004. Teva, known chiefly as a generics company, also has one of the world's top-four treatments of multiple sclerosis, Copaxone, in its branded medicine portfolio. Ivax's branded medicines include respiratory products like the Easi-Breathe inhaler for asthma and inhalers for the management of seasonal and perennial allergies.