Demand for the Group's cancer medicines Avastin, Herceptin, MabThera/Rituxan, Tarceva and Xeloda continued to grow strongly. Additional major growth drivers in the Pharmaceuticals Division were Tamiflu in virology and Lucentis in ophthalmology. The Diagnostics Division achieved sales growth of 9% in local currencies (4% in Swiss francs and US dollars) to 10.1 billion Swiss francs, thereby strengthening the divisions leading market share of around 20%.
The Group's operating profit before exceptional items increased by 14% in local currencies (8% in Swiss francs) to 15.0 billion Swiss francs. Operating profit in local currencies grew 15% to 14.2 billion Swiss francs before exceptional items in the Pharmaceuticals Division and 12% to 1.2 billion Swiss francs in the Diagnostics Division.
At constant exchange rates, the Group's operating profit margin before exceptional items increased 1.0 percentage points, with the Pharmaceuticals Division improving 1.2 percentage points and the Diagnostics Division 0.4 percentage points. Due to a particularly unfavourable combination of exchange rate movements, however, the Groupâs operating profit margin before exceptional items in Swiss francs increased only slightly, by 0.1 percentage points to 30.6%, with the Pharmaceuticals Division improving 0.2 percentage points to 36.3% and the Diagnostics Division decreasing 0.4 percentage points to 11.9%. The Group's operating free cash flow increased strongly, rising 34% in local currencies (27% in Swiss francs) to 15.7 billion Swiss francs. The Group's free cash flow remained strong in 2009, increasing by 3.9 billion Swiss francs to 8.9 billion Swiss francs.
Severin Schwan, CEO of Roche, on the Group's 2009 results: "In a turbulent external environment Roche performed extraordinarily well. Sales by both Pharma and Diagnostics grew twice as fast as their respective markets. Core Earnings per share grew even more strongly than sales. And we have layed the foundation for future growth: Our Pharma pipeline now comprises 10 new molecular entities in late-stage development - which is remarkable by any standards in our industry." Speaking of the Genentech integration, Schwan said: "Bringing Genentech fully into the Roche Group is a major step on the road to creating a stronger, even more innovative organisation."
Research and development
Over the next few years the division aims to expand its product portfolio with a new generation of medicines for patients suffering from cancer, metabolic and autoimmune diseases, viral infections and disorders of the central nervous system (CNS). Late-stage development of promising anticancer compounds such as pertuzumab and TâDM1 (HER2-positive breast cancer), RG7204 (malignant melanoma) and RG7159 (leukemia, lymphoma) is on track. In addition, two novel compounds in the metabolic and CNS portfolios - aleglitazar (cardiovascular disease in high-risk type 2 diabetes patients) and RG1678 (negative symptoms of schizophrenia) - are about to start phase III development. At the same time, we are also exploring new indications and formulations for existing products, including formulations of Herceptin and other biologic medicines that can be administered by more convenient subcutaneous injection instead of intravenous infusion.
At the beginning of 2010 the division's R&D pipeline included 111 projects in clinical development (phase I to III). Of these, 59 involved new molecular entities (NMEs) and 52 involved additional indications. Ten NMEs are in or about to enter late-stage development. 30 projects investigating additional indication for existing products are in Phase III.
Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is the worldâs 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. Rocheâs 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 2009, Roche had over 80'000 employees worldwide and invested almost 10 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 49.1 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche has a majority stake in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information: www.roche.com.