Stronger together

Innovative tests and endeavours to ensure supplies of all our products—despite COVID-19

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Contributions against COVID-19 and key results

Diagnostics solutions, medicines for other severe diseases and partnerships to increase access

Solidarity in the fight against COVID-19

Roche has faced and weathered many challenges in its nearly 125 years. The solidarity and community we experience now in the fight against COVID-19 will significantly increase our collaboration, and there is no doubt that we will come out of this even stronger.

author schwan
Severin Schwan CEO Roche Group

At a glance

Apart from research, development and production, Roche fosters a broad range of partnerships, for example to give people around the world access to our medicines and diagnostics. Making sure that our coronavirus tests end up where they are most urgently needed was a particularly important issue in 2020. The same goes for climate change, where we want to reduce our environmental impact by half over the next decade.

*All growth rates in this report are at constant exchange rates (CER; average 2019).

Protecting the environment while growing our business

*All growth rates in this report are at constant exchange rates (CER; average 2019).

Roche has been monitoring and actively minimising its environmental impact for many years while growing the business. Our efforts in decreasing energy consumption, air emissions, water consumption, and in waste reduction led to further improvements.

Commitment, engagement and focus

Characteristics that helped to master multiple challenges in 2020

Working nonstop, seven days a week

It has been the most rewarding six months of my career, and we are proud of the achievements made and the impact we can make for patients, and for society.

Employee Hillsboro, Oregon, USA

People at Roche have focused relentlessly on doing everything possible to support the fight against COVID-19. Teams worked nonstop to ensure continued supplies of existing products or the development of urgently needed new tests and medicines.

Ensuring continued care for patients

In the Philippines, many patients were affected by a lockdown so strict initially that there was no transport for them to get to their care. Therefore, Roche started with Flexcare transport, thanks to which we were able to get patients from wherever they were to their doctor, to their care.

patient story Patient Story

What to do when you are running out of a critical medicine for your three-year-old boy in the middle of a complete lockdown?

The boy’s family informed his doctor at Beijing Children’s Hospital. The doctor passed on the message to the Roche team. Taking innovative approaches, we could handover the medicine to the doctor in time to continue therapy. In spite of the pandemic and the lockdown.

Volunteering in COVID-19 treatment centre

Colleagues at Roche in Budapest, Hungary, trained as doctors, volunteered at Hungary’s biggest COVID-19 treatment centre and inspired others to do whatever they can: “The doctors and nurses were grateful for any kind of help they could get during these extremely stressful times.”

Testing to contain the spread of COVID-19

Tools to fight the pandemic and to support the development of medicines and vaccines

Accurate testing for effective therapies

The COVID-19 pandemic clearly demonstrates the value and importance of diagnostics, and we have been at the very forefront in the fight against this pandemic.

Thomas Schinecker CEO Roche Diagnostics
Read more about reliable and accurate testing of the COVID-19 causing SARS-CoV-2 virus

Engaged people make the difference

At many locations, including Roche sites in California, New Jersey, Indiana and Switzerland, Roche Diagnostics emergency response teams have worked around the clock to produce and deliver the first commercial test to detect the novel coronavirus.

There is a growing variety and availability of tests related to SARS-CoV-2. All types of tests can help healthcare providers make more accurate diagnostics, support better management of individual patients and provide better guidance to manage population risk.

Beyond COVID-19—preventing cervical cancer

The WHO estimates that 311,000 women globally die each year from this disease, which is nearly 100% preventable with proper screening, vaccination and treatment.

Roche focuses on the science behind HPV, the known cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer, to help provide answers that aid clinical decision-making around patient care.

Hope for patients

A Roche cancer medicine paired with a Roche companion diagnostic test—and the powerful collaboration between the Roche Diagnostics’ and Roche Pharmaceuticals’ teams that delivered both to the market—have brought new hope to patients like Eva who are diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer.

patient story Patient Story

“If it weren’t for this treatment, I would not be here.”

Watch Eva’s storyLearn more about an often overlooked disease

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Telemedicine—diabetes care

During the COVID-19 pandemic, diabetes care had to change significantly, and a boost in the adoption of digital technologies was essential. Roche has developed an open ecosystem for diabetes care that enables more meaningful interaction between people with diabetes and their physicians.

Telemedicine—digital pathology

The spread of COVID-19 has added an element of actual physical danger to the practice of pathology. With physicians and their staff at higher risk of exposure to the virus while on site at the hospital or laboratory, digital pathology that enables remote diagnoses has emerged as a vital technology.


COVID-19 diagnostic
solutions in 2020


-fold increase of PCR test production

New therapies for rare diseases of the CNS

In spite of the pandemic—the pipeline delivered

Tackling rare diseases

Given the high need for new treatment options in some rare diseases, we believe our new medicines may offer meaningful benefits for many living with diseases such as Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) or Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).

Levi Garraway Head of Global Product Development and Chief Medical Officer

New ways in diseases of the Central Nervous System

Neuroscience is a major focus of R&D at Roche. Our goal is to pursue groundbreaking science to develop new treatments that help improve the lives of people with potentially devastating diseases. Roche is investigating more than a dozen medicines for various diseases of the CNS.


Spinal cord cave illustrating motor neurons, astrocytes, dorsal and ventral roots

New options for rare diseases

The FDA approvals of new medicines for the treatment of rare disorders of the central nervous system (CNS) offer meaningful benefits for patients who previously had limited treatment options. Neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) are two examples.

Did you know?

SMA is a severe, progressive neuromuscular disease that can be fatal. It affects approximately one in 10,000 babies.

NMOSD is a rare and debilitating autoimmune condition of the CNS, causing blindness, muscle weakness and paralysis. It affects approximately 200,000 people worldwide.

Victoria, school student: “I am a child in a wheelchair, but I am not ill. I live with spinal muscular atrophy.”

patient story Patient Story

“My vision started to go blurry on my left eye. Once I started to not be able to walk and my vision on my right eye deteriorated as well, I went to the ER.”

Watch Avery’s storyLearn more about the risk of NMOSD relapse

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Achievements in 2020

Roche launched four new medicines, nine new molecules were moved to pivotal clinical studies, compared to about three per year during the last four years. Further, partnering efforts provided access to four late-stage medicines. A total of 92 new molecular entities are in clinical development.


new medicines launched
in 2020


new molecular entities in clinical development

The right treatment for the right person

Many have been touched by cancer, whether personally or because a friend or family member has been diagnosed

Genomic fingerprinting

I think about it every day, but you try to put it aside and just live the best life you can.

Jennifer Cole Lung cancer patient

Patient whose physician used genomic testing to find a targeted treatment for her lung cancer

Fingerprinting cancer

The insights from Comprehensive Genomic Profiling (CGP) help physicians refine their diagnosis, and provide prognostic information as well as predictive insights to each individual. This in turn allows physicians to match cancer-causing mutations with existing targeted therapies, rule out unnecessary therapies and thus personalise therapies.

Did you know?

When the availability of personalised care increases, both individual patients and society benefit. The Roche approach to personalised healthcare is rooted in a combination of advanced diagnostics, medicine, data, analytics, and digital technology, all with the goal of serving both patients and society at large.


The FDA approved FoundationOne Liquid CDx, a pan-tumour liquid biopsy test for patients with solid tumours analysing the tumour on more than 300 cancer-related genes and genomic signatures. FDA approvals for three additional companion diagnostic indications followed: advanced ovarian, breast and non-small cell lung cancer.


million patients treated


Breakthrough therapy designations (BTD)
since 2013

Supporting communities during the pandemic

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Roche has been the main external sponsor of the Phelophepa healthcare trains for over 25 years. As their main external sponsor, we were proud to continue supporting the trains as part of South Africa’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. The two healthcare trains became fully dedicated to screening, testing and awareness for people living in rural communities.

Helping communities after disaster

Following the explosion in Beirut on 4 August 2020, we contributed to a broad spectrum of relief efforts across the country, supported emergency response and rebuilding initiatives, donated a Roche antibiotic to healthcare centres and replaced damaged diagnostic laboratory equipment.

A glimpse into the future

To succeed in Personalized Healthcare, this approach requires a holistic view of the entire healthcare delivery system. Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and monitoring—Roche approaches them as a comprehensive system of integrated healthcare solutions. Our goal is to reduce complexity while optimising therapy.


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