Roche with good start in 2014

RocheGroup sales rose 5% in the first quarter, driven by demand for cancer medicines (in particular the HER2 breast cancer franchise, Avastin and MabThera/Rituxan), as well as Actemra/RoActemra for rheumatoid arthritis. Sales of Xeloda, a chemotherapy drug, were lower as the product is now off patent and faces generic competition in the United States and Europe. In the Diagnostics Division, strong sales growth was driven mainly by Professional Diagnostics with demand for immunoassays in clinical laboratories.

Compared with the first quarter of 2013, many currencies weakened significantly against the Swiss franc; notably the US dollar and the Japanese yen, as well as all Latin American currencies. This impacted the reported Swiss franc sales growth by 6 percentage points.

Commenting on the Group's first quarter performance, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: "Both the Pharma and Diagnostics Divisions posted solid growth in the first quarter. I am particularly pleased with the strong uptake of our recently launched medicines Perjeta and Kadcyla for HER2-positive breast cancer. With the acquisition of IQuum, we will further strengthen our leading molecular diagnostics portfolio with tests for the point of care segment. Based on the first quarter results, I am confident we will meet our full year targets."

On 7 April 2014, Roche announced the acquisition of IQuum Inc., a privately held US company focused on developing point of care tests for the molecular diagnostics market. Roche will pay IQuum shareholders 275 million US dollars up front and up to 175 million US dollars in contingent product related milestones. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions.

In 2014, Roche expects low-to mid-single digit growth in Group sales at constant exchange rates. Core EPS is targeted to grow ahead of sales. Roche expects to further increase its dividend.

About Roche
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, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology 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 diagnostics that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients. Founded in 1896, Roche has been making important contributions to global health for more than a century. Twenty-four medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organisation Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and chemotherapy.

In 2013 the Roche Group employed over 85,000 people worldwide, invested 8.7 billion Swiss francs in R&D and posted sales of 46.8 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.

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