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Roche reports continued growth in Q3, despite biosimilar competition

Spark acquisition expected to complete this year

Roche

Roche has reported a group sales growth increase of 10% at constant exchange rates (CER), with its pharmaceuticals division up 13% to 15.6 billion Swiss francs ($15.64 billion) in the third quarter. 

Following the continued growth, Roche has raised its outlook again, with sales expected to grow for 2019 at a high-single-digit-rate (at CER) which is an improvement on the mid-to-high-single-digit rate it predicted in July.

The company expects core earnings per share to grow in line with sales at CER, and expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss Francs.

According to the Swiss pharma, the key drivers of this growth were mutliple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus, new haemophilia treatment Hemlibra and its cancer medicines – Tecentriq, Perjeta and Avastin. The uptake of new medicines has offset the decreased sales of Herceptin and Rituxan, which have lost their respective patents and so have faced competition from generic sales.

The sales increase in US stood at 14%, led by Ocrevus, Hemlibra, Tecentriq, Kadcyla, Perjeta and Avastin. In Europe, sales were down 1% thanks to the competition from biosimilars for Herception and Rituxan, but there was growth reported in the uptake of Ocrevus, Perjeta, Tecentriq, Alecensa and Hemlibra.

The company also reported growth in its international region sales, which were up by 20%, and primarily driven by the uptake of its cancer drugs in China which have lost patents in Europe and the US.

“The uptake of our newly introduced medicines is very strong. We are successfully entering new disease areas and providing important new treatment options to serve more patients with severe conditions,” said Roche CEO Severin Schwan.

“Based on the strong demand for our new medicines and continued progress of our product pipeline we have raised the outlook for 2019 and I am confident that we will continue to grow beyond this year,” he added.

This “progress of our product pipeline” likely hints to Roche’s $4.3bn acquisition of Spark Therapeutics earlier this year, which has faced continued delays.

This is mainly due to ongoing scrutiny from regulatory authorities, with the main concern from the Federal Trade Commission being Roche/Spark’s potentially dominant position in haemophilia.

Roche’s haemophilia breakout star Hemlibra has been growing at a phenomenal rate – the FTC could be concerned about anticompetitive issues that might result from Spark’s emerging position in gene therapy for the blood disease.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

16th October 2019

From: Sales

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