Investor Update

Basel, 27 April 2017

Roche reports a good start in 2017

  • Group sales increase 4%1 at constant exchange rates and in Swiss francs
  • Pharmaceuticals Division sales up 3%, driven mainly by Tecentriq and Perjeta
  • Diagnostics Division sales grow 6%, primarily due to immunodiagnostic solutions
  • US FDA approves Ocrevus to treat two forms of multiple sclerosis
  • EU approves Alecensa for the treatment of a specific form of lung cancer
  • Successful phase III Aphinity study of Perjeta treatment regimen in early breast cancer
  • Outlook for 2017 confirmed

Commenting on the Group’s results, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: «We have started the year with good growth in both our Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics Divisions and with important positive clinical study results. A highlight of the first quarter was the US approval of our medicine Ocrevus for the treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS). Ocrevus is the first and only FDA approved medicine for both relapsing and primary progressive forms of MS and represents a new era for the treatment of this disease. We are well on track to meet our full-year targets.»

Group results

Good sales growth in both divisions

Group sales rose 4% to CHF 12.9 billion. Sales in the Pharmaceuticals Division increased 3% to CHF 10.2 billion, driven by very good early uptake of Tecentriq and continued strong growth of Perjeta and partially offset by lower sales of Tamiflu. In the US, sales advanced 6%, led by the recently launched medicines Tecentriq and Alecensa, as well as Xolair and MabThera/Rituxan. Sales of Tamiflu declined due to competition from generics. In Europe (+1%), Perjeta, Actemra/RoActemra and Herceptin were the main contributors to sales growth. In the International region, sales advanced 1%, led by the Latin America and Asia–Pacific subregions. In Japan (-2%), sales were impacted by government price reductions in April 2016.

Diagnostics Division sales increased 6% to CHF 2.8 billion. Centralised and Point of Care Solutions2 was the main contributor, led by the growth of its immunodiagnostics business (+13%). In regional terms, growth was driven in particular by Asia–Pacific (+13%) and Latin America (+21%). In EMEA3 (+2%) and Japan (+4%), sales increases were led by Centralised and Point of Care Solutions, and in North America (+4%) by Tissue Diagnostics.

Important new product approvals in Pharmaceuticals

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Ocrevus for the treatment of two forms of multiple sclerosis (MS); relapsing MS (RMS) and primary progressive MS (PPMS). Ocrevus is an important new treatment option for people with RMS, and due to the favourable benefit-risk profile has the potential to change disease course. It is also the first and only medicine approved to treat PPMS, a particularly disabling form of MS. Multiple sclerosis, for which there is currently no cure,4 is a chronic disease that affects an estimated 2.3 million people around the world. The European Commission granted Alecensa a conditional marketing authorisation as monotherapy for adult patients with ALK5-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) previously treated with crizotinib.

Clinical trial results support key new indications for Roche medicines

Roche communicated important clinical results in the first quarter of 2017. The phase III Aphinity study with Roche’s Perjeta regimen met its primary endpoint. It showed that adjuvant (after surgery) treatment with the combination of Perjeta, Herceptin and chemotherapy achieved a statistically significant reduction in the risk of recurrence of invasive disease or death in people with HER2-positive early breast cancer compared with Herceptin and chemotherapy alone. Encouraging results from the Tecentriq phase II study IMmotion 150 were presented: the study compared Tecentriq plus Avastin as well as Tecentriq monotherapy to the treatment with sunitinib in people with previously untreated, locally advanced or metastatic renal cell carcinoma.

The phase III Alur study met its primary endpoint, showing that Alecensa significantly improved progression-free survival (PFS) in people with ALK-positive advanced NSCLC who had progressed following treatment with platinum-based chemotherapy and crizotinib, compared with chemotherapy. In addition, in early April Roche announced that the phase III Alex study met its primary endpoint, showing that Alecensa as initial (first-line) treatment significantly improved PFS compared with crizotinib in people with ALK-positive NSCLC.

The US FDA accepted Roche’s supplemental Biologics License Application and granted priority review for Actemra/RoActemra for giant cell arteritis (GCA), a form of vasculitis. The FDA also granted breakthrough therapy designation for MabThera/Rituxan, in pemphigus vulgaris, a rare skin disease.

New generation of diagnostics products

The cobas HPV DNA test for cobas 6800/8800 systems was launched in the EU and other markets accepting the CE-mark, and the US FDA cleared the CINtec Histology test to aid in the diagnosis of cervical pre-cancer. These tests are a key part of Roche’s cervical cancer prevention portfolio. Human papillomavirus (HPV) is the cause of almost all cases of cervical cancer, a leading cause of death in women. 

The cobas Liat PCR system was launched in markets accepting the CE-mark. This real-time PCR system covers four assays, including a test for the rapid detection of Clostridium difficile. Timely and accurate diagnosis of this infection is important because it can quickly become life-threatening. In the US, the FDA approved Roche's cobas e 801 module for high-volume immunology testing. The Accu-Chek Instant system for effortless, reliable and affordable blood glucose monitoring was introduced in various markets in the EU.

Outlook for 2017 confirmed

In 2017, Roche expects sales to grow low- to mid-single digit, at constant exchange rates. Core earnings per share are targeted to grow broadly in line with sales, at constant exchange rates. Roche expects to further increase its dividend in Swiss francs.

Read full Investor Update

Roche’s First Quarter Sales 2017 Conference Call

There will be a conference call for investors and analysts today, Thursday, 27 April at 2:00 pm CEST. 

Please dial in to the conference call 10-15 min. prior to the scheduled start, using the following numbers:

  • +41 (0) 58 310 5000 (Europe and ROW)
  • +44 (0) 203 059 5862 (UK)
  • +1 (1) 631 570 5613 (USA)

Alternatively a live audio webcast can be accessed via

About Roche

Roche is a global pioneer in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics focused on advancing science to improve people’s lives. The combined strengths of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics under one roof have made Roche the leader in personalised healthcare – a strategy that aims to fit the right treatment to each patient in the best way possible.

Roche is the world’s largest biotech company, with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, immunology, infectious diseases, ophthalmology and diseases of the central nervous system. Roche is also the world leader in in vitro diagnostics and tissue-based cancer diagnostics, and a frontrunner in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896, Roche continues to search for better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and make a sustainable contribution to society. The company also aims for improving patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. Twenty-nine medicines developed by Roche are included in the World Health Organization Model Lists of Essential Medicines, among them life-saving antibiotics, antimalarials and cancer medicines. Roche has been recognised as the Group Leader in sustainability within the Pharmaceuticals, Biotechnology & Life Sciences Industry eight years in a row by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2016 employed more than 94,000 people worldwide. In 2016, Roche invested CHF 9.9 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 50.6 billion. Genentech, in the United States, is a wholly owned member of the Roche Group. Roche is the majority shareholder in Chugai Pharmaceutical, Japan. For more information, please visit

All trademarks used or mentioned in this release are protected by law.


  1. Unless otherwise stated, all growth rates in this document are at constant exchange rates (CER: average 2016).
  2. Formerly Roche Professional Diagnostics
  3. EMEA = Europe, Middle East and Africa
  4. Multiple Sclerosis International Federation. (2013). Atlas of MS 2013. Available at:
  5. ALK = anaplastic lymphoma kinase