Roche Sees Sales Increase Thanks to Cancer Treatments

Roche Holding AG announced that sales increased during its third quarter due to strong growth in several of its immunotherapy and cancer drugs.

The healthcare behemoth based in Basel, Switzerland announced revenue had grown by 4.5% for the three-month period ending September 30 to just over 12.48 billion Swiss francs or $12.6 billion.

That figure was just less than forecasts by analysts of 12.54 billion francs. Taking into consideration fluctuations in currency, sales were up 3%. Roche does not post figures for profit during its quarterly reporting each year.

Roche sales for the third quarter for pharmaceuticals were up from 9.34 billion francs for the same period last year to 9.68 billion francs. Revenue from its diagnostics division, which is much smaller, increased from 2.5 billion francs to 2.7 billion francs

The result from the third quarter for Roche brought a growth in sales for nine month to 6%, or just over 4% at exchange rates that are constant.

A number of immunotherapy and cancer drugs made by Roche saw strong growth for the first three quarters of 2016.

Amongst the best contributors was a trio of treatments for HER2-positive forms of breast cancer, Kadcyla, Herceptin and Perjeta that saw a combined increase in sales of 9%.

That is thanks in part to use of Perjeta a newer drug together with Herceptin, which is well-established. Taken together, the two prolong survival, which lengthens the treatment.

Sales for lymphocytic leukemia treatment Gazyva, rheumatoid arthritis treatment Actemra and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis treatment Esbriet, also increased during this year’s first nine months, up over 54%, 16% and 44% respectively.

Roche announced that initial market acceptance of Tecentriq a new drug for cancer, which was launched earlier in 2016 had be solid. Tecentriq is a member of a new group of drugs for cancer known by the name immunotherapies that are able to harness the defenses of the body to fight against cancer.

Roche is the third pharmaceutical company after Merck & Co and Bristol-Myers Squibb to enter the market of cancer immunotherapy.

Like other larger multinational companies that sell in Britain, UK revenue for Roche was hit hard due to a sharp drop of the pound in Britain, which currently is down 18% versus the U.S. dollar as well as 14% down from the Swiss franc.