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Tamiflu boosts Roche figures

Roche posts strong sales figures on increased demand for virology and oncology products

Roche has posted a 13 per cent increase in operating profit in the first half of 2009, thanks to growing demand for products in oncology, virology and ophthalmology.

Sales in the group's pharmaceutical division grew 11 per cent in local currencies to SFr19.1bn – twice the global market growth. Demand for oncology drugs, Avastin, Herceptin, MabThera, Xeloda and Tarceva continued to increase strongly with dynamic growth in the emerging markets. Sales of Tamiflu and Pegasys in virology and Lucentis in ophthalmology also contributed to the growth.

The company enjoyed sales growth globally: in the US solid performances of key oncology products and Lucentis boosted figures, while sales in Europe and Rest of World were driven by demand for anticancer medicines, Tamiflu, Micera, Boviva and Pegasys.

In the first half of 2009, operating profit in the pharma division rose faster than sales, growing at 19 per cent in local currencies to SFr7.5bn. Roche said that the strong increase was predominantly driven by the performance of key pharma products and ongoing measures to improve inefficiency.

The worldwide spread of swine flu saw sales of Tamiflu rise 203 per cent to SFr1bn in the first half of 2009. Of this, sales to governments and corporations for pandemic stockpiling accounted for SFr653m.

Sales of MabThera rose 8 per cent to SFr3.1bn, while sales of Avastin and Herceptin grew by 29 per cent (SFr3.1bn) and 10 per cent (SFr2.6bn), respectively. Tarceva sales rose by 10 per cent to SFr643m and those for Xeloda grew by 11 per cent to SFr626m. In the US, sales of Lucentis increased 21 per cent to SFr573.

During the first half of the year, Roche incurred SFr2.4bn in exceptional operating expenses of which SFr2bn relates to the purchase of Genentech. Total integration costs are forecast at SFr3bn.

Roche expects full-year sales to grow ahead of the market with growth in the high single-digit range in the pharmaceutical division.

24th July 2009

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