Roche's pipeline has continued to deliver in 2013. The Group successfully launched new breast cancer medicines Kadcyla in the United States and Perjeta in Europe. Roche also published encouraging results for obinutuzumab (GA101) in chronic lymphocytic leukemia at the start of the year. GA101 is the most advanced blood cancer medicine in Roche's pipeline, and data from the first of four pivotal phase III studies evaluating GA101 will be presented at the 49th Annual Meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO).
Group sales were particularly dynamic in the United States and emerging markets, while strong demand for Avastin in ovarian cancer led to an increase in Pharma sales in Europe. The rise of the Swiss franc against the Japanese yen by 13 percentage points impacted Group sales in Swiss francs by 1 percentage point.
Pharmaceuticals Division - HER2 franchise boosted by Kadcyla and Perjeta approvals
Sales in the Pharmaceuticals Division rose 7% to 9.2 billion Swiss francs mainly as a result of the oncology portfolio, which grew 10%. The division's performance was also lifted by strong demand for Tamiflu (+84%) due to a severe flu season in North America. The three top-selling cancer medicines were Herceptin (+11%), Avastin (+11%) and MabThera/Rituxan (+6%). A particular highlight was the double-digit sales increase of Avastin as a result of increased use in ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer. Actemra/RoActemra sales also rose strongly (+32%) due to monotherapy use in rheumatoid arthritis. The division’s main growth markets were the United States (+13%) and emerging markets2 (+11%), in particular China (+20%).
The HER2 franchise, which now includes Herceptin, Kadcyla and Perjeta, grew by 15% in the first quarter. Approval in the first quarter of Kadcyla in the United States and Perjeta in Europe for patients with HER2-positive breast cancer strengthened Roche's leading position in this indication.
Commenting on the Group's first quarter, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: "We got off to a very good start in 2013 due to strong organic growth. The launch of two new cancer drugs, Kadcyla in the United States and Perjeta in Europe, will help to further improve our leading market position in oncology. Based on the first-quarter results, I am confident we will meet our full-year targets."
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, infectious diseases, inflammation, metabolism and neuroscience. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner 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 2012 Roche had over 82,000 employees worldwide and invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 45.5 billion Swiss francs. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan.