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Q1 growth for Roche

Roche has announced total company revenue growth of 6 per cent to CHF12.2bn for the first quarter of 2010

Roche has announced total company revenue growth of 6 per cent to CHF12.2bn for the first quarter of 2010.

The increase in sales from CHF11.6bn for the same period in 2009 is in line with the Swiss company's outlook for growth during 2010 to remain in the mid-single-digit range, as published in the Roche Annual Report 2009

In local currencies however, growth was reported at 9 per cent, while in US dollars this was reported as 15 per cent.

Growth in Roche's Pharmaceutical Division was helped by an 18 per cent increase in the sales of cancer treatment, Avastin (bevacizumab), as well as a 27 per cent increase in sales of Lucentis (ranibizumab injection), a treatment for (wet) age-related macular degeneration – a common vision problem. A 32 per cent increase in sales of flu drug, Tamiflu (oseltamivir), and a 'promising' US launch of Actemra (tocilizumab) for rheumatoid arthritis also contributed to a growth of 6 per cent in Swiss francs for the division.

The Diagnostics Division of the company also saw growth, increasing by 7 per cent in Swiss francs, a figure ahead of the global market. This has been driven by company areas such as applied sciences and diabetes care, with a strong uptake of recently launched products including Accu-Chek Mobile and Accu-Chek Combo.

Expansion into emerging markets further helped increase growth for Roche, countering a decrease in sales in Japan. The 'E7' emerging markets (Brazil, Russia, India, China, Korea, Mexico and Turkey) saw sales boosted by 25 per cent, with China leading the way.

Roche CEO, Severin Schwan, said of the results: "Roche is off to a very good start in 2010. Both divisions continued to outgrow their respective markets. We are thus fully on track for 2010."

Plans for the rest of the year include the US marketing application for T–DM1 – a drug for advanced HER2-positive breast cancer – to be brought forward, based on strong phase II results.

Roche has confirmed its full-year outlook for 2010 as reported at the beginning of the year, with expected sales for the Pharmaceuticals Division and for the Group to increase in the mid-single-digit range in local currencies (excluding Tamiflu). Full-year sales are also expected to grow significantly ahead of the market for the Diagnostics Division.

The company aims to achieve double-digit Core Earnings per Share growth at constant exchange rates. This is despite a projected decrease in Tamiflu sales from CHF3.2bn to CHF1.2bn.

By the end of 2010, Roche intends to have repaid a quarter of its debt still owed after raising the finance to complete the $46.8bn purchase of biotechnology company, Genentech. As confirmed in the Q1 results report, Roche has already separately repaid $3bn and €1.5bn of this debt.

15th April 2010

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