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Roche Diagnostics up 5 Percent in H1 2012, MDx up 6 Percent

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today reported that sales in its diagnostics division grew 5 percent year over year at constant exchange rates during the first half of 2012 while the molecular diagnostics business grew 6 percent.

For the six months ending June 30, the Swiss drug and diagnostics firm reported diagnostic sales of CHF 5.01 billion ($5.13 billion) compared to CHF 4.86 billion during the first half of 2011. In Swiss francs the division grew 3 percent, and in dollars first-half 2012 sales were up 1 percent year over year.

Within the diagnostics division, molecular diagnostic sales increased to CHF 571 million — up 5 percent year over year in Swiss francs — while applied science sales were down 3 percent at constant exchange rates, or 4 percent in local currency, to CHF 363 million.

Roche attributed the weakness in applied science to competition in gene sequencing and a slowdown in public funding for research. During the first half of the year, Roche failed in its bid to acquire Illumina and said that it was shutting down its Nimblegen business and exiting the array market, as GenomeWeb Daily News' sister publication BioArray News reported.

Today, Roche said in a statement that the applied science unit "is now consolidating business segments whilst continuing to invest in new technologies, particularly sequencing."

After dropping its bid for Illumina, company officials suggested they would pursue other opportunities in the next-generation sequencing space, though they were oblique about their intentions.

During the first half of the year, Roche's diagnostics division launched 25 "major" products in key markets, it said, including assays for EGFR, MYC, FGFR1, chromosome 7 and 8, chlamydia/gonorrhea, and HIV. Earlier this month, the US Food and Drug Administration gave premarket approval for its first molecular test for monitoring cytomegalovirus infections and the company plans to launch the PCR-based assay in the second half of the year.

In total, the Roche Group had sales of CHF 22.42 billion, up 4 percent at constant exchange rates of 4 percent, or 3 percent in local currency, from CHF 21.67 billion a year ago.

It confirmed its outlook for 2012, saying the Group is expected to post low- to mid-single digit sales growth for the full year, while sales in the diagnostics division is anticipated to outpace the market. Roche added that it is aiming for a high single-digint increase in core earnings per share at constant exchange rates.

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