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Roche Diagnostics' Q4 Revenues Rise 8.4 Percent; MDx Sales Dip in 2007

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today reported that its Diagnostics division had fourth-quarter 2007 revenues of 2.5 billion Swiss francs ($2.3 billion), an 8.4 percent gain on revenues of CHF 2.3 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006.
 
For full-year 2007, Roche Diagnostics’ sales increased 7 percent to CHF 9.35 billion from CHF 8.75 billion in 2006. The firm said its share of the entire global diagnostics market is around 19 percent, which would make it the top player in the industry.
 
Roche reported strong growth for its Professional Diagnostics and Applied Science businesses, while sales for its molecular diagnostics products slipped 2 percent to CHF 1.15 billion for the year.
 
“As expected, pressure on industrial reagent prices continued to affect Roche Molecular Diagnostics’ sales,” the firm said in a statement. It added that excluding industrial reagent sales, its molecular diagnostics revenues were up 3 percent for 2007.
 
During 2007, Roche introduced in Japan tests for HIV-1, hepatitis B, and Hepatitis C virus to run on the Cobas AmpliPrep/Cobas TaqMan platform. It also launched the HIV-1 test in the US, and as of the end of the year had 122 supply contracts for the test with US labs including a deal with Laboratory Corporation of America.

In addition, Roche has several molecular diagnostic tests awaiting US Food and Drug Administration clearance, which should provide healthy future growth for the segment.

Chief among those is its Amplicor HPV test, which would be the second FDA-cleared molecular diagnostic test for human papillomavirus. If approved, it would join Qiagen’s HPV molecular diagnostic test on the US market. Roche also has a genotyping HPV test awaiting FDA clearance, as well as a molecular test for hepatitis C virus and a multiplex test for HIV/HCV/HBV.

Sales for the Applied Science business rose 11 percent year over year to CHF 692 million. That business has been boosted by the acquisitions over the past year of 454 Life Sciences, BioVeris, and NimbleGen Systems. Roche said the key growth drivers in Applied Science were its LightCycler 480 instrument; the Genome Sequencer FLX, which it gained through the purchase of 454 and launched in the first half of 2007; and research reagents.

 
Roche Diagnostics reported an operating profit of CHF 1.6 billion for 2007, up 14 percent for the year.
 
Roche recently signed an agreement to acquire Ventana Medical Systems for roughly $3.4 billion.
 
“This acquisition will enable us to move into the fast-growing market for tissue-based diagnostics and strengthen our capabilities for developing companion diagnostic tests,” Roche Chairman and CEO Franz Humer said during a conference call this morning. “Ventana is a significant milestone in our efforts to develop personalized healthcare solutions, including more cost-efficient, differentiated and targeted medicines.”
 
Overall, the Roche Group’s fourth-quarter sales rose 4 percent to CHF 12.2 billion from CHF 11.7 billion. For the full year, its revenues climbed 10 percent to CHF 46.1 billion from CHF 42 billion. Its net income for the year rose 25 percent to CHF 11.4 billion from CHF 9.2 billion.
 
Roche’s R&D expenses rose 14 percent in 2007 to CHF 8.4 billion from CHF 7.4 billion.
 
The firm’s Pharmaceuticals Division posted 2007 revenue growth of 10 percent to CHF 36.8 billion from 33.3 billion.
 
Roche officials forecast 2008 revenue growth in the high single digits.

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