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Roche's 2011 MDx Sales Rise 4 Percent as Applied Science Lags

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Roche today reported 2011 revenue growth of 6 percent at constant exchange rates for its diagnostics division including a 4 percent increase in sales for molecular diagnostic products.

The Swiss drugs, diagnostics, and research products giant reported total diagnostics sales of CHF 9.74 billion ($10.65 billion). Though the firm reported growth at constant exchange rates, in Swiss francs its diagnostics sales were down 7 percent from CHF 10.42 billion a year ago.

Roche noted that due to the appreciation of the Swiss franc during the year, there was a negative foreign exchange impact of 12 percent.

The firm's molecular diagnostics sales rose 4 percent at constant exchange rates, but were down 8 percent in local currency, to CHF 1.09 billion for 2011.

In a statement Roche noted prominent personalized healthcare tests that were launched during the year including biomarker assays for BRAF (melanoma), EGFR (lung cancer), KRAS (colorectal cancer) gene mutations, and HER2 gene expression for breast cancer. In addition, the firm received US marketing clearance for its molecular test for human papillomavirus.

Roche's Applied Science business saw a 3 percent drop in sales at constant exchange rates, or 15 percent in local currency, to CHF 740 million. It said that sales were impacted by a year-over-year decline in H1N1 influenza virus testing, increasing competition in the sequencing field, and a slowdown in research funding.

The firm's tissue diagnostics business had revenue growth of 15 percent at constant exchange rates, or flat year over year in local currency, to CHF 542 million.

Roche is aiming to boost both its applied science and molecular diagnostics businesses through the proposed $5.7 billion acquisition of Illumina, which was announced last week. It commenced the $44.50 per share offer and yesterday named its proposed nominees for Illumina's board of directors.

However, in response to Roche's actions, Illumina CEO Jay Flatley said yesterday, "Our highly qualified board will continue to act independently and in the best interest of stockholders."

He added that Illumina's board will continue to review Roche's tender offer and advise its shareholders of its formal position within 10 business days of Jan. 27.

Overall, the Roche Group reported revenues of CHF 42.53 billion, up 1 percent at constant exchange rates or down 10 percent in local currency, from CHF 47.47 billion.

Its net income was CHF 9.54 billion, or CHF 12.30 per share, versus CHF 8.89 billuion, or CHF 12.78 per share, for 2010.

Roche said that it expects 2012 revenue growth in the low- to mid-single digits at constant exchange rates.

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