Roche Group's first-quarter 2011 sales on track for full-year targets

RocheIn the first three months of 2011 Group sales remained stable in local currencies (-9% in Swiss francs; +2% in US dollars) at 11.1 billion Swiss francs. Excluding Tamiflu sales, which as expected declined significantly compared with the prior-year period (from 517 million to 252 million francs), Group sales increased 2% (-7% in Swiss francs, +4% in US dollars). The Pharmaceuticals Division’s first-quarter sales totalled 8.7 billion Swiss francs, a decline of 2% in local currencies (-10% in Swiss francs; +1% in US dollars). Excluding Tamiflu, pharmaceutical sales advanced 1%. Sales by the Diagnostics Division continued to grow faster than the global in vitro diagnostics market, advancing 6% in local currencies (-4% in Swiss francs; +7% in US dollars) to 2.4 billion Swiss francs. The sales figures expressed in Swiss francs reflect a substantial negative exchange-rate impact due to the strength of the franc relative to all currencies relevant for Roche, in particular the US dollar and the euro, compared with the first quarter of 2010.

Positive results from seven key clinical trials
In the first quarter Roche announced positive results from seven key clinical trials, six of which are expected to support marketing applications for new medicines or additional indications for existing products:

  • vemurafenib (metastatic melanoma)
  • vismodegib (basal cell carcinoma)
  • Avastin (ovarian cancer)
  • Tarceva (EGFR-positive non-small cell lung cancer)
  • Lucentis (diabetic macular edema - two studies)
  • Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1; HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer)

Including these latest studies, 18 of the Group's phase II or phase III trials have achieved positive results since last October. Roche and Genentech plan to submit the results of a number of these trials for presentation at medical meetings during 2011.

Full-year targets confirmed
Based on its first-quarter sales, Roche confirms its full-year outlook for 2011: Barring unforeseen events, Group and Pharmaceuticals sales (excluding Tamiflu) are expected to grow at low single-digit rates in local currencies, reflecting the impact of US healthcare reform and European austerity measures. Pharmaceuticals sales are thus expected to grow in line with the market. In 2011 Diagnostics sales are again expected to grow significantly ahead of the market, driven by further rollout of new products in all business areas. In spite of a more challenging environment and the introduction of an excise tax in the United States, Roche aims for Core Earnings per Share to grow at a high single-digit rate at constant exchange rates in 2011. Roche aims to increase the dividend in line with Core Earnings per Share. Based on the strong operating free cash flow, Roche expects to reduce debt progressively and to return to a net cash position by 2015.

About Roche
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, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is also the world leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management. Roche’s personalised healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. In 2010, Roche had over 80’000 employees worldwide and invested over 9 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 47.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.