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Roche reports strong diagnostics sales in Q1 as demand for COVID-19 tests continues

Company continues to report a significant impact of biosimilar competition on established brands

Roche Basel Switzerland

Roche has reported its first quarter results for 2021, with its diagnostics business continuing to grow as the company’s pharmaceuticals division struggles to combat biosimilar competition.

Overall, group sales were up by 3% at constant exchange rates (CER), with a 1% decline reported in Swiss francs as a result of the increasing value of the currency.

The company’s pharma division, in particular, took a hit, with a significant impact from biosimilars causing an overall 9% decline in sales to CHF 10.6bn.

The specific impact of biosimilars on Roche’s MabThera/Rituxan, Avastin and Herceptin franchises remained ‘significant’, particularly in the US.

However, approvals and continuing growth for its new medicines helped to partially offset that decline, with this area of the business growing by 20%, bringing in CHF 5.2bn.

Elsewhere in the business, Roche continues to see significant growth for its diagnostics division, which was up by 55% in the quarter to CHF 4.3bn.

This growth, unsurprisingly, can be attributed to the company’s portfolio of COVID-19 tests, with Roche’s point of care (+281%) and molecular lab (+86%)  business contributing the most.

Overall, Roche noted that the pandemic continued to negatively impact areas of its business, particularly for medicines which require regular hospital visits.

Additional sales of Actemra/RoActemra, which are being used to treat COVID-19, are up by 22% and helped to make up the loss from declining use of other medicines in Roche’s portfolio.

Looking ahead for the year, Roche reaffirmed its 2021 outlook, predicting group sales growth in the low- to mid-single digits.

“In 2021, Roche remains strongly committed to the fight against COVID-19. The uptake of our recently introduced diagnostic tests and medicines remains strong, while we continue to see the expected impact from biosimilars on sales of our established medicines,” said Severin Schwan, chief executive officer of Roche.

“Our broad product pipeline keeps making good progress. Based on the results of the first quarter of 2021, we confirm the outlook for the full year,” he added.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

21st April 2021

From: Sales

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