Total Revenues: $57,734 (+7%)
Pharma Revenues: $44,654 (+5%)
Net Income: $11,035 (+23%)
R&D: $12,281 (+6%)
TOP SELLING DRUGS
|Ocrevus||Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS)||$2,406||173%|
|Esbriet||Pulmonary fibrosis, idiopathic||$1,054||19%|
Roche’s pharma sales grew 5% to $44.6 billion in 2018. Key growth drivers were the new multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus and cancer medicines Perjeta, Tecentriq, Alecensa as well as the new haemophilia medicine Hemlibra. With sales of $2.4 billion in its first full year on key markets, Ocrevus is the most successful new product launch in Roche’s history.
On the regulatory front, the Swiss pharma giant received several major approvals during the year. In the fourth quarter, FDA gave the green light to Tecentriq in combination with Avastin for a specific form of lung cancer. The regulator also granted accelerated approval for leukaemia drug Venclexta, and approved Xofluza, which is used to treat the flu.
At the end of the year it was announced that Roche’s CEO, Daniel O’Day, was stepping down from the helm after being with the company for more than 30 years in various roles. William Anderson succeeded him as the new chief executive at the start of 2019, having previously served as CEO of Genentech since 2017.
In 2018, Roche concluded several oncology-focused transactions to advance its personalized healthcare strategy with three U.S.-based acquisitions.
Three years after buying a majority stake in Foundation Medicine for more than $1 billion as part of a research and development collaboration, Roche acquired the rest of the company in a $2.4 billion follow-on deal for the business, which selects cancer treatments for patients based on their genetic profile.
The deal came on the heels of Roche’s $1.9 billion acquisition of oncology-focused electronic health record (EHR) software developer Flatiron Health. They make oncology-specific EHR systems, most notably an information exchange platform which allows researchers to access and learn from patient records. The company’s message is that large amounts of data could be used to speed up and, in some cases, replace certain clinical trials where patients are randomly assigned to a specific treatment.
Roche also entered an agreement to acquire Ignyta, a U.S. based pharmaceutical company focused on developing cancer therapies, for $1.7 billion. The acquisition expands Roche’s oncology portfolio globally. Ignyta will continue its operations in San Diego and will be responsible for the ongoing study of entrectinib, its most advanced cancer drug being studied in a range of solid tumor types. The company also has a portfolio of drugs in early stage of development that use gene therapy to kill the underlying diseases that drive cancer tumor growth. Ignyta employs an integrated “Rx/Dx” approach that combines precision medicines (Rx) and in-house molecular diagnostics (Dx) to both identify and target hard-to-treat cancers in hard-to-find patients.
Roche entered several cancer research collaborations during the year. In the cellular therapy arena, it formed a deal with SQZ Biotechnologies to jointly develop and commercialize certain products based on antigen presenting cells (APCs) created by the SQZ platform for the treatment of oncology indications. The companies are also expanding a 2015 collaboration to jointly develop therapeutics derived from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).
With Kymab Group, Roche entered a clinical trial agreement, under which it will provide its PD-L1 blocking antibody atezolizumab for use in combination in Kymab’s upcoming Phase I-II clinical studies combining its lead investigational anti-ICOS antibody therapy KY1044 in patients with advanced solid cancers. Kymab will be responsible for conducting the clinical trials, and both companies will share data from the trials. Kymab continues to retain all commercial rights to KY1044.
Syapse and Roche entered into a multi-year strategic collaboration to help make precision medicine available to more cancer patients. Syapse and Roche will work jointly to develop software products and analytics solutions to provide the tools and insights healthcare providers need to practice precision medicine at scale, with the goal of improving patient outcomes. The companies will initially focus on four product programs: real-world evidence, so that physicians can make better care decisions; better understanding the health economics impact and patient outcomes of precision medicine; advancing electronic patient-reported outcomes to understand precision medicine’s effect on health-related quality of life; and accelerating clinical trial enrollment by matching patients to precision trials at the point of care.
Roche entered research deals in therapeutic areas other than cancer as well during the year. In diabetes, it partnered with Zealand Pharma for the Phase 3 trials with dasiglucagon for treatment of congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI). Zealand is responsible for conducting the Phase 3 trials, while Roche Diabetes Care provides its Accu-Chek Combo pump system for this study.
Icagen entered into a license and collaboration agreement with Roche to develop and commercialize small molecule ion channel modulators for the treatment of neurological disorders. The program incorporates Icagen’s platform for ion channels and is directed at a specific novel ion channel target expressed in neurons.
With BioMed X, Roche entered a research collaboration in the field of immunology. BioMed X launched a global call for applications to establish a new biomedical research group in Heidelberg, Germany with the goal of developing novel approaches for the treatment of several immune-mediated diseases.