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Roche Sales Up 1 Percent for First Nine Months of 2010, Dx Biz up 8 Percent

By a GenomeWeb staff reporter

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today announced an 8 percent sales growth in its diagnostics division during the first nine months of the year, while company-wide sales rose 1 percent.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the Swiss pharmaceutical, diagnostics, and research products firm said that its diagnostics business increased to CHF7.7 billion ($8.1 billion), up from CHF7.4 billion ($7.7billion). Within the division, molecular diagnostics rose 4 percent in local currencies to CHF900 million, while applied science diagnostics grew 8 percent to CHF646 million.

Tissue diagnostics rose 18 percent to CHF393 million.

Company-wide sales for the nine months were CHF36.13 billion, compared to CHF36.40 billion in the year-ago period, a 2 percent increase in local currencies.

Pharmaceutical sales rose 1 percent in local currencies to CHF28.40 billion from CHF29.03 billion in the first nine months of 2009.

For its third quarter ended Sept.30, Roche's total sales slid 7 percent to CHF11.49 billion from CHF12.29 billion in Q3 2009. The diagnostics business rose less than 1 percent to CHF2.48 billion from CHF2.46 billion a year ago.

Roche's microarray business, housed in the applied science segment within diagnostics, increased 22 percent, helped along by the launch of NimbleGen's SeqCap Exome target enrichment technology for next-generation sequencing.

Sales of MagNA Pure and LightCycler products for sample preparation and PCR analysis were flat "due mainly to decreasing demand for influenza A (H1N1) virus testing," Roche said in a statement.

In molecular diagnostics, the company said that growth was driven by virology and blood screening in Eastern Europe, North America, and Asia-Pacific. Roche said also that strong demand continued for its cobas 4800 system in parts of Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific.

In a conference call accompanying the release of its earnings, Daniel O'Day, COO of the diagnostics division, said that Roche's GS Junior System, a smaller next-generation sequencing platform from Roche company 454 Life Sciences that is being rolled out, is seeing "good uptake."

For full-year 2010, the company said it expects mid single-digit sales growth company wide, while the diagnostics business is expected to grow "significantly" ahead of the market.

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