Commenting on the Group's first nine months, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: "Demand for our products has remained strong in both divisions. We will meet our full-year targets. I am very encouraged by the uptake of our new cancer medicines, Perjeta and Kadcyla, which significantly improve the survival rates of patients with a very aggressive form of breast cancer. In diagnostics, we benefited from strong growth in Professional Diagnostics, and the launch of the cobas 8100 will further strengthen our market leadership."
Sales in the Pharmaceuticals Division rose 7% to 27.2 billion Swiss francs as a result of strong demand for Roche's cancer medicines Avastin, Herceptin, MabThera/Rituxan, Perjeta and Kadcyla, as well as rheumatoid arthritis treatment Actemra/RoActemra.
The HER2 breast-cancer franchise, which includes Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla, grew 13% thanks to positive uptake of both Perjeta and Kadcyla following their recent launches. The outlook for the HER2 franchise was further strengthened in September after the European regulatory agency's Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use (CHMP) recommended approval for Kadcyla in advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. The FDA also granted accelerated approval of Perjeta for the neoadjuvant treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer prior to surgery. Perjeta is the only approved neoadjuvant breast cancer treatment in the United States. In addition, the subcutaneous formulation of Herceptin was approved in Europe, significantly reducing the administration time and related treatment costs of Herceptin.
Avastin sales rose 13% due to recent approvals in ovarian cancer in Europe, colorectal cancer in the United States and Europe, and the first approval for newly diagnosed glioblastoma in Japan.
The division also benefited from a 33% increase in sales for Actemra/RoActemra. Roche is strengthening its immunology/ophthalmology pipeline with the development of new compounds such as etrolizumab for inflammatory bowel disease and lampalizumab (anti-factor D) for geographic atrophy, an advanced form of dry age-related macular degeneration. Etrolizumab is moving into late-stage development, while promising phase II data for lampalizumab were presented at the 31st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Retina Specialists in August.
The United States (+12%) and key emerging markets2 (+10%), in particular China, which grew 23%, were the main regional growth drivers. The United States nine-month net revenue benefited from a sales reserve release in the third quarter amounting to 184 million Swiss francs related to a provision in the US Healthcare Reform3. Sales in Europe rose 2% despite the challenging environment due to demand for specialty care medicines such as Avastin, skin cancer medicine Zelboraf and Actemra.
Roche now has 65 new molecular entities in its pipeline, and around two-thirds of our late-stage compounds are being developed with a companion diagnostic. In September encouraging efficacy and safety data for alectinib, an ALK inhibitor, in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer resistant to available treatment were presented at the European cancer congress. The FDA has granted alectinib breakthrough therapy designation.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the world's largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, infectious diseases, inflammation, metabolism and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche's personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2012, Roche had over 82,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs ($9 billion US) in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.5 billion Swiss francs ($48.4 billion US). Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.