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Roche cancer drugs push sales to record highs


Swiss-based drug major Roche posted record figures for 2007 showing that revenues rose 10% to 46.13bn Swiss francs, while net income soared 25% to 11.44 bn francs ($10.5bn).

Drug sales, excluding contributions from subsidiaries Genentech and Chugai, were up 11% to 22.97bn francs, driven by sales of the division’s oncology products.

Globally, MabThera®/Rituxan® (rituximab) for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma grew 15% to 5.52bn francs, and sales of Herceptin® (trastuzumab) grew 23% to 4.85n francs.

Avastin® (bevacizumab) increased 41% to 4.11bn francs and Tarceva® (erlotinib) 31% to 1.06 bn francs.

Transplantation products CellCept® (mycophenolate mofetil) and Valcyte®/Cymevene® (valganciclovir/ganciclovir) rose 10% and 12% respectively to $2.01bn and $542m.

Roche’s hepatitis C treatment Pegasys® (peginterferon alfa) increased 11% to 1.64bn francs, while osteoporosis drug Boniva/Bonviva® (ibandronic acid) climbed 85% to 887m francs.

However there was disappointment with sales of the influenza vaccine Tamiflu® (oseltamivir), which fell back 19% globally to 2.09bn francs. This was expected, as most existing pandemic stockpiling orders have been fulfilled and sales for next year are expected to fall even further.

The results beat analysts’ expectations and Roche is predicting more of the same in the next few years.

Despite anticipated lower Tamiflu sales and “significantly higher R&D spending”, Roche expects earnings to “remain at least in line” with 2007.

The Basle-based group anticipates continued strong growth in 2009-10, aided by the launch of the rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra® (tocilizumab) and the anaemia treatment Mircera® (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta).


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