Roche is a pioneer and leader in biologics for oncology and beyond and with $38.4 billion in drug sales for 2016, it moved up a spot from last year to become the fourth largest drug maker in the world. Sales in Roche’s Pharmaceuticals
Division were driven by strong growth of Perjeta, Herceptin and
Actemra/RoActemra, while lower sales were recorded for Pega-sys, Tarceva and Lucentis.
In the U.S., Pharmaceuticals sales advanced 3%, led by the
respiratory medicines Xolair and Esbriet. The recently launched
medicines Tecentriq and Alecensa contributed to the growth as
well. Sales of eye drug Lucentis and cancer medicines Avastin
and Tarceva declined due to growing use of other therapeutic
options. In Europe, sales growth of 4% was driven by Perjeta,
Actemra/RoActemra and Mab Thera/Rituxan.
Roche recently launched four new medicines: Cotellic (advanced
melanoma), Alecensa (lung cancer), Venclexta (chronic lymphocytic leukemia) and Tecentriq (bladder and lung cancer). In addition, five FDA breakthrough therapy designations were granted
for Roche medicines in 2016.
A major highlight was the U.S. launch of Roche’s cancer im-
munotherapy medicine Tecentriq. It is the first FDA-approved
treatment for people with a specific type of bladder cancer in
more than 30 years. In addition, the FDA cleared Tecentriq for
use in previously treated
metastatic non-small cell
lung cancer (NSCLC).
The pivotal Oak trial
showed that people with
this form of lung cancer
who received Tecentriq
live significantly longer,
regardless of their PD-
L1 status, compared with
those receiving chemo-
Additional data pre-
sented at the ECTRIMS4
congress in September
showed that Roche’s ocrelizumab increased disease control in
both relapsing and primary progressive multiple sclerosis (RMS
and PPMS). In March, Roche received regulatory approval for this
medicine in RMS and PPMS in the U.S. and the EU.
Roche also presented other important clinical results in 2016.
A pivotal study in a group of people with haemophilia A (Haven
1) showed that prophylaxis with emicizumab led to a significant
reduction in the number of bleeds over time. A phase III study
by Chugai (J-Alex) found that first-line treatment with Alecensa
significantly reduced the risk of disease worsening or death com-
Roche’s $6.6 billion cancer drug Herceptin grew
1% during the year while arthritis drug RoActerma
reached $1.6 billion in sales on 15% growth.