Thursday, April 16, 2009

Roche sales up by 7% to Swiss francs 11.6 bn in Q1

Thursday, April 16, 2009 13:00 IST
Our Bureau, Mumbai

Roche Group sales increased by 6.7 per cent to Swiss francs 11.6 billion during the first quarter ended March 2009 from Swiss francs 10.9 billion in the corresponding period of last year. The sales growth was mainly driven by key products in the oncology, virology, ophthalmology and inflammation portfolios Roche completes transaction to take full ownership of Genentech.

The pharmaceutical division sales grow 7.6 per cent in to Swiss francs 9,216 million from Swiss francs 8,568 million. The main sales drivers were Avastin, Herceptin, Tamiflu, MabThera/Rituxan and Lucentis. In the United States, solid growth of key products compensated for lower seasonal sales of Tamiflu. Sales by Chugai in Japan increased strongly due to Tamiflu, key anticancer medicines and Actemra. Sales in Europe/Rest of World were driven by continued demand for key products in Europe and in emerging markets.

Commenting on the first three months of 2009, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said, "With growth of 7 per cent, the Roche Group's sales developed very well in the first three months of 2009. Sales in both divisions continued to grow significantly faster than their respective markets. We are therefore confident that we can achieve our full-year targets. Following the friendly merger agreement with Genentech and rapid completion of the transaction, we have made considerable progress with integration activities. We are delighted that Art Levinson will continue to support us in an active role and that many outstanding individuals from both Genentech and Roche have committed themselves to driving forward the combined businesses. We will update our full-year outlook to include the impact of the Genentech transaction when we announce our half-year results."

Global sales of Tamiflu (oseltamivir), for influenza, rose 38 per cent overall to 401 million Swiss francs in the first quarter. Growth was driven by sales to governments and corporations for pandemic stockpiling, including significant new orders in Japan and the United Kingdom, where the governments have announced plans to double the size of their existing stockpiles of antiviral medicines.

As of 31 March 2009, the Pharmaceuticals Division's research and development pipeline (phase-I to III/registration) included 59 new molecular entities and 59 additional indications. During the first quarter one project entered phase-I, four projects entered phase-II and two entered phase-III development. Portfolio prioritisations led to the discontinuation of three phase-I and two phase-II projects.

Roche's Diagnostics Division, the world's leading supplier of in vitro diagnostics (IVDs), recorded first-quarter sales of 2.4 billion Swiss francs, an increase of 8 per cent in local currencies. This was well above the estimated 5 per cent growth of the IVD market.4 All five business areas increased their sales in local currencies, with Professional Diagnostics and Tissue Diagnostics the biggest contributors to growth. The division launched nine major new IVDs in Europe as well as important additions to its DNA sequencing and cell analysis portfolios.

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