Roche third-quarter sales rise due to new medicines

Roche Holding said third-quarter sales rose 1.8pc, boosted by sales of its newer cancer medicines

Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG posted flat sales for the first nine months of 2014, but said Thursday the results show strong demand for its cancer drugs and emerging new products.

The Basel, Switzerland-based company’s group sales were reported at 34.8bn Swiss francs, nearly unchanged from 34.9bn francs in the same period last year. But when measured in constant exchange rates, sales rose 5pc over the first three quarters of the year.

It noted that a number of currencies, notably the US dollar, remained weaker against the Swiss franc throughout the year.

The world’s biggest producer of cancer-fighting drugs said its sales of cancer medicines Herceptin, Perjeta and Kadcyla together increased 21pc, while its sales of rheumatoid arthritis treatment Actemra/RoActemra rose 24pc.

For the nine months, measured in constant exchange rates, it said sales were 4 percent higher in its pharmaceuticals division and 6pc higher in its diagnostics division.

For the third quarter, Roche’s sales increased 1.8pc from the similar period a year ago. The company posted sales of 11.78bn francs for July to September, up from 11.57bn francs a year earlier.

“Demand for our products is strong in both divisions and we are well on track to reach our full-year targets,” CEO Severin Schwan said of the company’s expectation for low- to mid-single-digit growth in group sales for the full year at constant exchange rates.

Earlier this month, the company gained US approval for Esbriet, which Roche said could make “a considerable difference” in the treatment of patients with a debilitating lung disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

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