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Roche Q3 sales up on cancer drugs

And CEO Schwan commits to gene sequencing despite failed Illumina bid

Roche headquarters

Roche managed to achieve sales growth of 15 per cent for the third quarter of 2012 thanks to a strong performance from its cancer drugs Mabthera/Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin.

The Swiss pharma company made 11.27bn Swiss francs (€9.3bn) during the last three months, compared to 9.8bn Swiss francs (€8.1bn) during the same period in 2011, in the process beating analysts' forecasts.

“With the strong growth in the third quarter we remain well on track to meet our full-year targets,” said Roche's CEO Severin Schwan.

These targets include mid-single-digit sales growth at constant exchange rates for the company, and a high single-digit growth in core earnings per share at constant exchange rates, both of which were confirmed in its quarterly statement.

As well as its more established cancer products, most of which are not yet at the precipice of the patent cliff, more recent medicines also ensured a successful quarter for the company.

These newer drugs included Zelboraf for BRAF V600-mutated metastatic melanoma, Perjeta for first-line HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer and Erivedge for advanced basal cell carcinoma.

Regionally, Roche's sales in Western Europe followed the trend of most major pharma companies and remained flat as tough economic measures continue to be implemented by governments seeking to reduce their healthcare spending.

This was counteracted by the company's performance in other markets, however, with US sales up from 2.82bn Swiss francs (€2.33bn) to 3.46bn Swiss francs (€2.86bn), while international sales climbed from 1.97bn Swiss francs (€1.63bn) to 2.36bn Swiss francs (€1.95bn).

In the wake of its failed bid to purchase gene sequencing firm Illumina for $6.8bn, Roche also reaffirmed that an expanding into the gene sequencing market was still part of its future.

In a conference call, CEO Schwan refused to comment on speculation that Roche would try again in its bid to acquire US-based Illumina, although he did say that the company was considering both internal and external sequencing opportunities.

16th October 2012

From: Sales

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