About infectious diseases

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Roche research and development in infectious diseases aims to address areas of high unmet medical need with global significance.

Infectious diseases caused by viral and bacterial pathogens represent an ever-growing medical need for millions of patients worldwide. Combining a rich legacy in infectious diseases with the latest science and technology platforms, Roche focuses on the discovery and development of novel treatments to address some of the world’s most pressing health challenges.

Currently, Roche infectious diseases research and development focuses on three main therapeutic areas:

Chronic Hepatitis B Infection

More than a quarter billion people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). It is the 10th leading cause of death worldwide, the most pathogenic of all hepatitis types, and one strongly associated with irreversible liver damage, chronic active hepatitis, and the development of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. While currently available HBV medicines can effectively suppress viral replication, they often require long-term or lifelong treatment.

Roche’s strategy aims to achieve a cure for chronic Hepatitis B infection with a best-in-disease combination therapy that pairs direct-acting antivirals (targeting the HBV lifecycle) with immune-enhancing molecules (clearing the virus).

Multi-Drug Resistant Bacteria

Antibiotics have provided protection against life-threatening bacterial infections for nearly 100 years. However, multi-drug resistance is on the rise and the need for novel antibiotics is greater than ever. Drug-resistant bacteria are responsible for an estimated 700,000 deaths worldwide each year.

As one of very few large pharmaceutical companies remaining in antibiotics research and development, Roche endeavours to build upon its legacy as a leader in the “golden age” of antibiotic development to deliver novel antibiotics with entirely new mechanisms of action, thereby ushering in a “platinum age”. Current efforts focus on developing treatments for the top three Gram-negative bacteria identified by the World Health Organization as #1 Priority Pathogens.

Influenza

Influenza, or ‘flu’, represents a serious threat to global public health. Annual epidemics result in 3 to 5 million cases of severe disease, millions of hospitalisations and up to 650,000 deaths due to respiratory complications. The flu can affect anyone and prove deadly for those who are vulnerable to complications, including the young, elderly and immunocompromised.

Although vaccines are an important first line defence, there remains a need for new medical options to prevent and treat flu. Roche aims to do this by building on a strong heritage and expertise in influenza to deliver new treatments in this important therapeutic area.

HBV virus - the little big enemy