Oncology lifts Roche's Q1, Lucentis finds new fans

Share this article:
Oncology lifts Roche's Q1, Lucentis finds new fans
Oncology lifts Roche's Q1, Lucentis finds new fans

Roche's oncology portfolio and the pharmaceutical division as a whole lifted the drug maker's first quarter sales 6% compared to the same period last year, bringing total sales to $12.5 billion.

The company's lead cancer medications were Herceptin, Avastin and mabThera/Rituxan. Roche credits increased Avastin use for ovarian and colorectal cancers with fueling an 11% sales boost for the drug. Overall sales powerhouses were the US and emerging markets (China sales skyrocketed 20%). The company saw growth in both divisions, with pharmaceuticals performance outpacing estimates by Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson and diagnostics lagging Anderson's forecast. The company noted that increased HER2+ testing was behind the 11% uptick in Herceptin sales and that Lucentis, despite being hammered by off-label Avastin use and Regeneron's Eylea in the wet AMD market, has traction in diabetes macular edema, an indication it landed last fall. A sneezy cold and flu season also bolstered quarterly sales, with Tamiflu sales adding to revenues.

Diagnostics and devices sales rose 1%. The company attributed the 5% fall in its diabetes-care division to reimbursement cuts and pricing pressure.

In addition to confirming the year's guidance, the company provided limited pipeline insight. Among the reveals Bernstein's Anderson highlighted in his Thursday earnings call summary:
  • Herceptin patient numbers rose partly because clinical trial patients for other medications are now returning to “the gold standard treatment”
  • Physicians are increasingly looking to Avastin as a first-stage treatment because “they now know that they can continue to use Avastin in other lines of therapy”
  • US sales of melanoma drug Zelboraf sales will probably be flat because of a crowded market
  • The company is taking a wait-and-see approach on its Alzheimer's therapies gantenerumab and crenezumab and hasn't committed to taking either into Phase III until Phase II results surface
Share this article:
You must be a registered member of MMM to post a comment.

Email Newsletters

MM&M Future Leaders


Register now

Early bird $1,950 before 31 October 2014

*Group discounts available on request 

MM&M EBOOK: PATIENT ACCESS

Patient access to pharmaceuticals is a tale of two worlds—affordability has improved for the majority, while the minority is hampered by cost, distribution and red tape. To provide marketers with a well-rounded perspective, MM&M presents this e-book chock full of key insights. Click here to access it.

More in Channel

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Monday, September 15

Five things for pharma marketers to know: ...

Pharma has sought 76 meetings with FDA over biosimilars; Gilead licenses Sovaldi to India generic drugmakers; Pfizer and Ranbaxy Lipitor lawsuit dismissed.

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Liraglutide, aiming for new indication, gets new name

Why Novo Nordisk is choosing not to leverage Victoza's brand equity as it seeks a weight-loss indication for liraglutide.

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, September 12

Five things for pharma marketers to know: Friday, ...

An FDA panel voted in favor of liraglutide for weight loss; Allergan investors backing an attempted takeover of the firm crossed a critical threshold; and 100 million health wearables are ...