Roche Boosts Outlook for Third Time as New Drugs Surge

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(Bloomberg) --

Roche Holding AG for the third time this year said sales and profit may be better than expected as its push outside cancer pays off.

  • Sales and core earnings per share will rise by a percentage in the high-single digits this year, the Basel, Switzerland-based drugmaker said in a statement. It previously expected growth in the mid- to high-single-digits.

Key Insights

  • Growth drivers Ocrevus for multiple sclerosis and Hemlibra for blood clotting continued to perform last quarter, with sales of the latter gaining after U.S. regulators cleared it for use in the largest group of hemophilia patients.
  • Roche says planned acquisition of Spark Therapeutics still expected to close by year-end despite delays.
  • The erosion in sales for aging blockbuster cancer drugs Avastin and Herceptin wasn’t as bad as some feared in the third quarter after rivals Amgen Inc. and Allergan Plc introduced biosimilar versions of the medicines in the U.S. in July. New competition for another older drug, Rituxan, is expected to pick up in the fourth quarter.

Market Reaction

Roche shares rose as much as 1% in Zurich trading. The stock has climbed about 16% so far this year, roughly in line with its Basel neighbor Novartis AG and the Bloomberg European pharma index.

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To read the statement, click here.

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