Roche Reports 1% Sales Decline in Q1
Roche has seen a 1% year-on-year (y/y) sales decline in Swiss francs during the first quarter, while sales increased by 2% in local currencies.
IHS Global Insight Perspective
Swiss pharma Roche has reported sales of 11.0 billion Swiss francs (USD11.99 billion) for the first quarter of the year, with a 1% year-on-year (y/y) decline. The pharmaceutical division saw a y/y decline of 1%, whereas sales in the diagnostics division remain flat.
Revenue has been negatively affected by the decline in sales of Tamiflu, as the company reports a sales growth of 3% in local currencies when excluding Tamiflu, 1 percentage point higher than if Tamiflu sales were included. Currency effects also undermined results.
Roche has continued to maintain its full-year outlook, in particular expecting diagnostics to grow above the market with a target of high single-digit core earnings-per-share growth.
Swiss pharmaceutical company Roche has completed the first quarter of the year with a 1% year-on-year (y/y) sales decline in Swiss francs, with total group sales of CHF11.0 billion (USD11.99 billion). In local currencies, however, group sales saw a rise of 2% y/y. Breaking down sales by segment showed that sales in the diagnostics division were flat, while the pharmaceutical division experienced a 1% y/y decline. In the pharmaceutical division, the sales decline was highest in Western Europe, with a decline of 9% y/y, while the United States and Japan reported an increase in sales of 4% and 3% y/y, respectively.
Roche: Q1 2012 Financial Highlights (CHF mil.)
% Change Y/Y
% Change Y/Y
- Excluding Tamiflu
- Pharmaceutical Division
- Excluding Tamiflu
- Diagnostics Division
Looking at pharmaceutical sales, oncology drugs continue to drive these, with MabThera/ Rituxan (rituximab) maintaining its top position, demonstrating an increase of 7% y/y (at constant exchange rates). Importantly, Herceptin (trastuzumab) overtook Avastin (bevacizumab), reporting CHF1, 428 billion in sales, an increase of 7% y/y, while Avastin saw a 1% y/y increase sales to CHF1,385 billion. Hepatitis drug Pegasys (peginterferon) climbed into the top four, with sales up 32% y/y. Pegasys was followed by ophthalmology drug Lucentis (ranibizumab), whose sales remained flat. Rheumatoid arthritis drug Actemra (tocilizumab) reported the highest sales growth among the top 20 products, with y/y sales growth of 46%. Bonviva/Bonviva (ibandronic acid), NeoRecormon/Epogin (epoetin beta), and Tamiflu showed the biggest drop in sales, with y/y declines of 31%, 28%, and 24%, respectively.
Roche: Q1 2012 Sales of Top 20 Products
% Change* Y/Y
% Change* Y/Y
Pegasys (peginterferon alpha 2a)
Lucentis (ranibizumab injection)
CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil)
Valcyte/Cymevene (valganciclovir hydrochloride)
Bonviva/ Bonviva (ibandronic acid)
Pulmozyme (dornase alpha)
Mircera (methoxy polyethylene glycol-epoetin beta)
Nutropin (somatropin—rDNA origin—for injection)
Madopar (levodopa + benserazide)
Total Top 20 Products
* Change at constant exchange rates
Outlook and Implications
Despite the slight decline in sales, Roche maintains its full-year outlook and expects the group and the pharmaceuticals sales to grow at low-to-mid single-digit rates, and diagnostics to grow above the market with a target of high single-digit core earnings-per-share growth.
Tamiflu, which has seen a 24% y/y (CER) sales decline, has still continued to drag down overall sales in the first quarter. The negative impact of Tamiflu on overall sales has begun to even out, however. Although Tamiflu contributed 1 percentage point to Roche's sale decline, currency effects had a 3-percentage-point negative impact on sales.
The highest growth was reported by Actemra, sales of which have been affected by its recent approvals and are expected to continue to rise (see Switzerland: 2 March 2012: Roche's Actemra Beats Humira As Monotherapy and United States - Japan: 23 December 2011: Chugai Applies for Enhanced Actemra Indication in US).
Looking at the product pipeline, Roche is focusing on its cancer drugs Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Erivedge (vismodegib), with Erivedge having recently received US FDA approval (see United States - Switzerland: 1 February 2012: FDA Approves Roche's Skin Cancer Drug Erivedge and United States - Switzerland: 18 August 2011: Zelboraf Joins Yervoy with FDA Approval in Metastatic Melanoma Market, Targeting BRAF-Positive Population).
The company is expected to continue its efforts to acquire Illumina (US), having earlier increased its offer price to USD51.00 per share, with the current offer schedule expiring on 20 April (see United States - Switzerland: 9 April 2012: Further Opposition Voiced Against Roche's Takeover of Illumina). The acquisition of genetics company Illumina, if completed successfully, will boost Roche's capabilities in the companion diagnostics and life sciences field.
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