Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated
"The demand for our new medicines which benefit people living with serious conditions, such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, haemophilia and spinal muscular atrophy, remains high," remarked CEO Severin Schwan.
Roche said that "despite the continued strong impact of biosimilars," sales this year are expected to grow in the low-to mid-single digit range, at constant exchange rates, with core earnings per share increasing "broadly in line" with this. Schwan suggested that biosimilar competition this year to Avastin, Herceptin and MabThera/Rituxan in the US, Europe and Japan will erode sales by around CHF 4.6 billion ($5.1 billion), down from CHF 5.1 billion ($5.6 billion) in 2020.
Meanwhile, Bill Anderson, head of the pharmaceuticals unit, added that "the first half of the year will be relatively more difficult for the pharmaceuticals business, the second half will be strengthening."
Roche disclosed that it ended Phase III development of its Akt inhibitor ipatasertib in combination with chemotherapy as a first-line treatment for HR-positive triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). The company also scrapped a late-stage trial of ipatasertib in combination with Tecentriq (atezolizumab,) plus chemotherapy in first-line TNBC. The move comes after results presented last year from the Phase III IPATunity130 study showed that ipatasertib in combination with paclitaxel as a first-line treatment for patients with TNBC failed to improve progression-free survival versus paclitaxel alone.
Meanwhile, the company also removed the anti-ST2 monoclonal antibody RG6149 in asthma from Phase II development, as well as the BTK inhibitor fenebrutinib, also known as RG7845, in rheumatoid arthritis.
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