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Currency Exchange Hits Roche's Q1 MDx, Applied Science Revenues

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche Group today reported that its overall first-quarter revenues fell 9 percent due to the negative effect of currency translation, with significant weakening of the US dollar and euro against the Swiss franc.

The Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, and research products giant reported revenues of CHF 11.12 billion ($12.46 billion) for the three-month period ended March 31, compared to CHF 12.24 billion in Q1 2010. In local currency, its revenues were up 6 percent overall.

Roche's diagnostics division had sales of CHF 2.41 billion for the first quarter, down 4 percent from CHF 2.52 billion year over year, but up 6 percent in local currency. Its molecular diagnostics sales declined 7 percent to CHF 274 million, but were up 3 percent in local currency. The firm's tissue diagnostics business had a strong quarter, climbing 7 percent to CHF 128 million, and up 18 percent in local currency.

Roche noted that it is on track to launch in the second half of this year three new biomarker tests for detecting the cancer-related mutations BRAF, KRAS, and EGFR. The BRAF test is being developed as a companion diagnostics for the firm's melanoma drug vemurafenib.

Its applied science revenues, which include sales from its sequencing and microarray products, fell 12 percent year over year to CHF 198 million, and were down 3 percent in local currency. Roche said the decline reflects large, one-time orders in the first quarter of 2010 for its MagNA Pure and LightCycler products to test for influenza A (H1N1).

Roche said that for full-year 2011 it expects its diagnostics sales to "grow significantly ahead of the market, driven by further rollout of new products in all business areas."

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