Roche reported top-line results for the third quarter that put it on track to meet our expectations for the full year. Roche’s oncology drug portfolio and diagnostics segment form the basis of its personalized medicine strategy, feeding into the firm’s strong intangible assets and wide economic moat.
At constant currencies, Roche’s sales were up 8% in the third quarter, with 9% pharmaceutical growth and 7% diagnostics growth. Roche’s overall growth was 6% excluding a release of 340B sales reserves related to reported sales of its key cancer antibody therapies in the United States. Roche’s U.S. pharmaceutical sales growth of 10% was the biggest growth driver in the quarter even excluding the 340B adjustment (including the 340B sales reserves release, U.S. pharmaceutical sales grew 16% to CHF 3.9 billion, one third of Roche’s CHF 11.6 billion top line).
Turning to pharmaceutical product specifics, Rituxan and Avastin saw double-digit global sales growth in the quarter. Lucentis’ 21% constant currency growth reflected strong use of less frequent administration in age-related macular degeneration as well as use in newer indications diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusion.