Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world's largest generic drug maker, posted a first-quarter profit compared to a year-ago loss, on 24 percent higher revenue from generic products and its own Copaxone multiple sclerosis drug.

Quarterly net income was $342 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.0 billion, or $1.40 a share, a year earlier, said the Israel-based company with North American headquarters outside Philadelphia in North Wales. The 2006 loss was related to Teva's $7.6 billion acquisition of Ivax Corp.

Excluding items, Teva earned 42 cents a share compared with 37 cents a year ago. Sales were $2.1 billion, up from $1.7 billion.

Teva is one of several companies that may buy German drugmaker Merck KGaA's generic drug division. Bids were due today. Teva president and chief executive officer Shlomo Yanai, asked about the acquisition on a conference call with analysts, declined to comment.

Merck KGaA, whose generics business has been valued at about $5.5 billion, is not affiliated with Whitehouse Station, N.J.-based Merck & Co.

Teva today raised its forecast for 2007 per-share earnings to between $2.20 and $2.30, compared with an earlier forecast of $2.07 to $2.19.

Teva's American depository receipts were up 34 cents to $39.17 in early afternoon trading on the Nasdaq market.

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