Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. said today that fourth-quarter profit rose significantly, helped by sales of generic cholesterol and depression treatments and its acquisition of Ivax Corp.

Net income climbed to $460 million, or 56 cents a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31 from $305 million, or 45 cents, for the same period a year earlier.

Sales rose 63 percent in the quarter to $2.3 billion, said the Israel-based company, which has North American headquarters in North Wales near Philadelphia.

Teva, the world's largest generic drugmaker, attributed strong earnings to generic versions of major drugs, including Merck & Co.'s Zocor, Pfizer Inc.'s Zoloft and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.'s Pravachol in the quarter.

Earnings growth in 2007 is expected to slow because marketing exclusivity for Zocor and Zoloft has ended, thus enabling other generic drugmakers to sell them. Teva president and CEO Israel Makov has said that while 2006 was "exceptionally strong" 2007 will be a "challenge" compared with last year's results.

Teva said today it expects sales in 2007 to exceed $9 billion compared to $8.4 billion in 2006, with fully diluted per-share earnings of between $2.07 to $2.19.

Shares were up $2.16, or 6.1 percent, to $37.52 in midday trading on the Nasdaq.

Contact staff writer Linda Loyd at 215-854-2831 or lloyd@phillynews.com.