Roche revises sales expectations upwards on uptake of biologics

By Ben Hargreaves contact

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Metamorworks)
(Image: Getty/Metamorworks)

Related tags: Roche, Spark Therapeutics

Despite increased competition from biosimilars in Europe, Roche announces sales of its pharmaceutical divisions are up by 10%.

It was a similar story when Roche posted its fourth-quarter financials​; however, with its first-quarter financials for 2019, the growth in sales has allowed the company to revise its full-year projections to estimate sales in the ‘mid-single digit range’.

Previously, Roche had previously projected sales in the low-to-mid-single digits, but the growth of overall sales in the first quarter to CHF 11.9bn (€10.4bn), 10% higher than the same quarter of the previous year, allowed the company to shift estimations higher.

The company announced that Ocrevus (ocrelizumab), a treatment for multiple sclerosis, Perjeta (pertuzumab) and Tecentriq (atezolizumab), treatments for cancer, and Hemlibra (emicizumab), a haemophilia A treatment, had been driving the growth in sales.

“We have started the year with strong sales growth, driven by the newly launched products in our Pharmaceuticals Division. Demand for our new medicines remains high… Based on our performance in the first quarter, we raise the outlook for the full-year,”​ said Roche CEO Severin Schwan in a statement.

The raft of newly launched biologic treatments are tasked with off-setting the negative impact that biosimilars are having to its current generation of biologics, Herceptin (trastuzumab) and MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab); Avastin is also set to face biosimilar competition, with patents expiring in the US later this year.

Due to biosimilar entry, sales in Europe fell by 6%, with Herceptin sales down by 44% and MabThera/Rituxan by 38%.

Beyond its existing portfolio, Roche has looked outwards to secure future sales, with the addition of gene therapy specialist​, Spark Therapeutics, which is expected to close in the first half of this year.

The $4.3bn (€3.7bn) acquisition will add to Roche’s haemophilia portfolio, with Spark’s treatments in Phase III trials, and could potentially add to the ‘very strong’ launch the company has experienced with Hemlibra in 2019.

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