Investor Update

Basel, 04 February 2021

Roche reports solid results in 2020

  • Group sales increase 1%1 at constant exchange rates (CER); 5% decline in Swiss francs, as a result of continued appreciation of the Swiss franc against most currencies
  • Pharmaceuticals Division sales decline 2%; continued strong sales growth of newly launched medicines (+32%2, including Tecentriq, Hemlibra, Ocrevus, Perjeta and Kadcyla) largely offsets the impact of competition from biosimilars (CHF -5.1 billion at CER3), but not the additional COVID-19-related impact from missed medical appointments
  • Diagnostics Division sales grow 14% for the full year (+28% in the fourth quarter) due to COVID-19 diagnostics; more than offsetting a decline in routine testing due to COVID-19
  • Roche’s contributions to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic:
    • Launch of 15 new diagnostic solutions for COVID-19
    • Key tests launched in the fourth quarter:
      • USA: Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 S antibody test, which can play a critical role in measuring a person’s vaccine-induced immune response
      • Europe: Elecsys SARS-CoV-2 Antigen test to support high-volume testing of suspected COVID-19 patients
    • Production capacity for SARS-CoV-2 tests and COVID-19-related medicines ramped up significantly at unprecedented speed; substantial funds committed to further expand supply chain capacities (>CHF 800 million)
    • Major partnerships: With Regeneron to increase global supply of investigational antiviral antibody combination (August), with Atea to develop a potential oral COVID-19 treatment (October), and with Moderna to include our recently launched antibody test in their ongoing vaccine trials (December)
  • Approvals for medicines in the fourth quarter:
    • USA: Gavreto (thyroid cancer); Xofluza (influenza); Xolair (nasal polyps)
    • Europe: Tecentriq plus Avastin (liver cancer), Phesgo (breast cancer), Xofluza (influenza)4
  • Strong pipeline: record number of 19 new compounds in phase III trials or filed for approval; investment in research and development further increased by 8% to CHF 12.2 billion
  • Core earnings per share (EPS) grow ahead of sales at 4% (-5% in CHF)
  • IFRS net income of CHF 15.1 billion, increasing 17% (7% in CHF), mainly due to the lower goodwill write-offs compared to the previous year
  • Board proposes dividend to increase to CHF 9.10. Subject to shareholder approval, this would be the 34th consecutive dividend increase)

Outlook for 2021: Despite the continued strong impact of biosimilars, sales are expected to grow in the low- to mid-single digit range, at constant exchange rates. Core earnings per share are targeted to grow broadly in line with sales, at constant exchange rates. Roche expects to increase its dividend in Swiss francs further.

Commenting on the Group’s results, Roche CEO Severin Schwan said: “Roche continues to make important contributions to fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. We developed in record time a comprehensive portfolio of diagnostic solutions and entered new partnerships to develop and produce effective COVID-19 medicines. The demand for our new medicines which benefit people living with serious conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, haemophilia and spinal muscular atrophy, remains high. Based on our rejuvenated portfolio and the significant progress made in developing our product pipeline, Roche is strongly positioned for future growth.”

Group results

In 2020, Group sales rose 1% (-5% in CHF) to CHF 58.3 billion. The core operating profit increased 4%
(-4% in CHF), reflecting the underlying business performance, and core EPS grew 4% (-5% in CHF), ahead of sales. The appreciation of the Swiss franc against almost all currencies had a significant adverse net impact on the results expressed in Swiss francs compared to constant exchange rates.

The IFRS net income increased 17% (7% in CHF). This increase is mainly due to the lower goodwill write-offs compared to the previous year.

Sales in the Pharmaceuticals Division decreased 2% to CHF 44.5 billion, mainly due to stronger than expected biosimilars competition and the COVID-19 pandemic. The new medicines (launched since 2012) continued their strong growth (+32%, or +CHF 4.7 billion). In 2020, they generated sales of CHF 18.4 billion, thus already contributing more than 40% to the division’s total sales.

While sales of the new medicines grew strongly, the impact of the competition from biosimilars for the established medicines Herceptin, Avastin and MabThera/Rituxan was significant, with an estimated combined CHF 5.1 billion of sales reduction in the US, Europe and Japan.

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Roche’s Full Year Results 2020 – Live Webinar

There will be a live webinar for investors and analysts today, Thursday, 4 February at 2:00 pm CET. To access the webinar, please click here.

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 to improve patient access to medical innovations by working with all relevant stakeholders. More than thirty 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. Moreover, for the twelfth consecutive year, Roche has been recognised as one of the most sustainable companies in the Pharmaceuticals Industry by the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI).

The Roche Group, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, is active in over 100 countries and in 2020 employed more than 100,000 people worldwide. In 2020, Roche invested CHF 12.2 billion in R&D and posted sales of CHF 58.3 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

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Cautionary statement regarding forward-looking statements
This Annual Report contains certain forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may be identified by words such as ‘believes’, ‘expects’, ‘anticipates’, ‘projects’, ‘intends’, ‘should’, ‘seeks’, ‘estimates’, ‘future’ or similar expressions or by discussion of, among other things, strategy, goals, plans or intentions. Various factors may cause actual results to differ materially in the future from those reflected in forward-looking statements contained in this Annual Report, such as: (1) pricing and product initiatives of competitors; (2) legislative and regulatory developments and economic conditions; (3) delay or inability in obtaining regulatory approvals or bringing products to market; (4) fluctuations in currency exchange rates and general financial market conditions; (5) uncertainties in the discovery, development or marketing of new products or new uses of existing products, including without limitation negative results of clinical trials or research projects, unexpected side effects of pipeline or marketed products; (6) increased government pricing pressures; (7) interruptions in production; (8) loss of or inability to obtain adequate protection for intellectual property rights; (9) litigation; (10) loss of key executives or other employees; and (11) adverse publicity and news coverage.

The statement regarding earnings per share growth is not a profit forecast and should not be interpreted to mean that Roche’s earnings or earnings per share for 2020 or any subsequent period will necessarily match or exceed the historical published earnings or earnings per share of Roche.


  1. Unless otherwise stated, all growth rates in this document are at constant exchange rates (CER: average 2019)
  2. Launched since 2012: Erivedge, Perjeta, Kadcyla, Gazyva/Gazyvaro, Esbriet, Cotellic, Alecensa, Tecentriq, Ocrevus, Hemlibra, Xofluza, Polivy, Rozlytrek, Phesgo, Enspryng, Evrysdi
  3. Biosimilar competition for MabThera/Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin in the US, Europe and Japan
  4. Approval in January 2021