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Roche CEO: the hollow of the wave due to the coronavirus has passed

Zurich ( – For the pharmaceutical giant Roche, the bottom of the wave due to the coronavirus pandemic has passed. Managing Director Severin Schwan told Finanz und Wirtschaft (online Friday), and said business will progress again in 2020.

The pandemic has also impacted Roche’s business, according to the CEO, but the latter has maintained the forecast of growth in turnover with a low to medium single-digit rate this year. He said he was confident that he could achieve this goal, while the number of hospital patients was decreasing.

The top three cancer drugs Avastin, Mabthera and Herceptin are expected to experience $ 4 billion in sales erosion this year. The pressure is particularly great in the United States where biosimilars have been put on the market.

However, there is a strong demand for new Roche products, which balances the balance overall, according to Schwan. In about two years, the situation will stabilize, according to the boss who sees a possibility of accelerating growth from 2022. In the medium and long term, everything will depend on the success of the new products.

Schwan noted that Roche has a series of promising drugs that have been launched or will be launched recently. The growth of the anti-cancer drug Tecentriq is dynamic and the product is the subject of sixty studies. Roche had never before had such a broad development program, said the boss.

With regard to drugs against the coronavirus, Roche is following projects “in a very early phase”. The group is one of the few firms that are still active in the fields of infectious diseases and antibiotics. He uses this know-how to develop new ideas, but it will take years for clinical studies to be completed, according to Schwan.

The Diagnostics division is also benefiting from the pandemic. As a world market leader it benefits even more than proportionally. The health sector as a whole will benefit because it is more efficient to invest early in a good automated diagnostic system than to react late to an illness. According to Mr. Schwan, there is now a greater willingness to invest in diagnostics.

tp / jb / rp