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Roche Diagnostics' Revenues Grow 6 Percent in First Nine Months of 2018

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Roche said today that its diagnostics division revenues grew 6 percent in the first nine months of 2018, driven mainly by growing demand for its immunodiagnostics solutions. 

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, the Basel, Switzerland-based pharmaceuticals and diagnostics giant's total revenues rose 7 percent to CHF 42.08 billion ($42.42 billion) from CHF 39.43 billion during the same period in 2017.

In the first nine months, Roche Diagnostics revenues were CHF 9.38 billion compared to CHF 8.80 billion a year ago, while its pharmaceuticals division revenues grew 7 percent to CHF 32.70 billion from CHF 30.64 billion last year.

"In the first nine months of the year, both our pharmaceuticals and diagnostics divisions achieved very strong sales growth," said Roche CEO Severin Schwan in a statement. "Based on the performance in the first nine months of the year, we will achieve our full-year targets."

Within the diagnostics division, Roche's centralized and point-of-care solutions business revenues grew 8 percent (7 percent at constant exchange rates) to CHF 5.63 billion from CHF 5.21 billion in the prior-year period. Its diabetes care business revenues grew 1 percent to CHF 1.48 billion from CHF 1.46 billion. Molecular diagnostics business revenues were up 6 percent (5 percent at constant exchange rates) to CHF 1.47 billion from CHF 1.39 billion, and the firm's tissue diagnostics business revenues rose 9 percent to CHF 801 million from CHF 735 million.

Diagnostics regional sales were driven by growth in Asia Pacific and North America regions, comprising 26 percent and 25 percent of the division's sales, respectively. Diagnostics sales grew by 13 percent in Asia Pacific compared to the same period in 2017, by 8 percent in Latin America, by 6 percent in North America, by 3 percent in Japan, and 2 percent in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.

During a call to discuss the latest financial results, Michael Heuer, CEO of Roche Diagnostics, highlighted that in the Asia-Pacific region diagnostics sales in China grew by 14 percent. Roche opened a manufacturing site with an R&D center in Suzhou, China, and plans by 2021 to grow the workforce at that site to more than 400 employees. With this site, Roche hopes to "ensure a sustainable supply of clinical chemistry tests and immunoassays in the Asia-Pacific market," Heuer said.

Sales for Roche's centralized and point-of-care solutions business, which represents the largest contributor to its diagnostics sales, were driven by immunodiagnostics and clinical chemistry products, with revenues increasing by 10 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

According to Heuer, Roche has placed 1,500 cobas e 801 platforms, its immunodiagnostics flagship product, in routine use. "Following the approval of the Chinese FDA, we're starting the Cobas e 801 launch in China in September," he said. Sales in Roche's molecular diagnostics business grew 5 percent, with virology sales up by 4 percent and "strong growth in HIV monitoring." Roche also reported "high demand" for its Cobas Liat molecular point-of-care tests. Sales of human papillomavirus tests and blood screening products increased by 17 percent and 3 percent, respectively.

In the firm's tissue diagnostics business, sales in the advanced staining and primary staining portfolios were up 10 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Revenues for the diabetes care segment increased 1 percent, driven primarily by Accu-Chek Guide and Accu-Chek Instant systems.

For the third quarter of 2018, Roche Diagnostics reported that its revenues rose to CHF 3.11 billion from CHF 2.98 billion, a 6 percent increase year over year.

During the quarter, Roche's Cobas MTB and Cobas MAI tests using the Cobas 6800/8800 Systems became available in countries accepting the CE Mark. Roche also acquired the remaining shares of Foundation Medicine it did not already own in late July, giving it full ownership and further expanding its broader personalized healthcare strategy.

Roche also announced the global availability of FoundationOne Liquid, which analyzes circulating tumor DNA cancer patients' blood. The test gauges 70 genes that are commonly mutated in solid tumors and reports whether patients have microsatellite instability, which can help guide treatment decisions with immunotherapies. 

Roche confirmed its full-year 2018 guidance for sales growth in the mid-single digits at constant exchange rates with core earnings per share growth in the mid-teens.