LONDON: Roche is increasingly confident it will continue to increase sales and profit even as cut-rate copies of the Swiss drugmaker’s older cancer medicines start to grab business next year, its chief executive said on Wednesday.
Big wins for three new drugs in recent months have helped to offset what Roche’s Severin Schwan acknowledges as a serious threat from so-called biosimilars.
“In terms of growth, I am now at the point where I sleep much better,” Schwan told Reuters on a visit to London. In February the company won US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) breakthrough status for new multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus.
That was followed in May by US approval of immuno-oncology drug Tecentriq for bladder cancer, with an expected sign-off for lung cancer waiting in the wings. Then came a surprise early announcement that Roche’s blood cancer drug Gazyva worked better than an older drug.
Together, these developments have boosted Schwan’s optimism that Roche can more than replace income lost as rivals such as Novartis and Mylan begin selling biosimilar copies of older Roche drugs in the second half of 2017.
“I would have been much more cautious 12 or 18 months ago, but the situation has been substantially de-risked since then,” Schwan said. Schwan added that Roche will continue to make smaller deals to acquire early-stage drugs, but larger transactions are unlikely because he considers biotech companies to be overvalued despite a correction that began in late 2015.
Copyright Reuters, 2016
Courtesy : BRecorder