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Roche Continues To Focus On New Drugs, Sustainable Growth

Swiss drug-maker Roche Holding AG (RHHBY.PK) on Wednesday said its strategy continues to be focused on medical innovation and sustainable growth, with special emphasis on developing differentiated medicines and diagnostics in areas of high unmet need. The company plans to keep its R&D budget stable with continued productivity improvements and rigorous portfolio prioritization.

Basel, Switzerland-based Roche believes that its innovative access strategies in developed and emerging markets would provide additional growth opportunities.

Roche will today give an update on its strategy at the investor event in London that will also showcase the progress of its late-stage pipeline. The company has a pipeline with 72 new molecular entities or NMEs. It projects to read out as many as 19 late stage clinical trials over the next 18 months. Of these, 12 are investigating NMEs.

In personalized healthcare business, Roche will develop therapies that advance current standards of care and improve people's lives.

Roche CEO Severin Schwan said, "More than 60% of our pharmaceutical pipeline projects are coupled with the development of companion diagnostics in order to make treatments more effective. The recent launches of our cancer medicines Perjeta and Zelboraf are examples of the concept of personalised healthcare becoming reality."

According to Roche, the Diagnostics business has been expanding its commercial reach in different emerging markets, continuing its double-digit sales growth and its leadership in these markets by successfully tailoring its strategy to local conditions.

The company also expects that new technologies in oncology business, which may encompass about 50% of R&D budget, would expand the current product portfolio for patients suffering from cancer over the next few years. The company will also invest in other disease areas of high unmet medical need such as neuroscience, metabolism, inflammation and virology.

The antibody-drug conjugates or ADCs and synergistic combinations are highlighted as two of the most promising new cancer technologies. Roche is developing ADCs that combine the specificity of antibodies with the power of chemotherapy and may result in improved efficacy and fewer adverse events. Roche has a total of nine ADCs in its development pipeline.

In addition to oncology, the company is also focusing on neuro-degenerative and psychiatric disorders such as Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, as well as on autoimmune and metabolic diseases. In neuroscience, data from a global phase III program of six studies exploring two indications for bitopertin, an investigational first-in-class glycine reuptake inhibitor, are expected in late 2013.

In immunology, the company expects to improve response rates and treatment success through a personalised approach.

In 2011, Roche, with over 80,000 employees, invested over 8 billion Swiss francs in R&D. The Group posted sales of 42.5 billion francs.

In Zurich, Roche shares are currently trading at 174.80 francs, up 1.80 francs or 1.04 percent, on a volume of 270,973 shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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