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Roche Revenues Grow 10 Percent in First Nine Months of 2019

The headline previously incorrectly stated Roche's diagnostics business grew 10 percent year over year during the first nine months of the year. We regret the error.

NEW YORK – Roche said today that its diagnostics division revenues grew 4 percent year over year on a constant exchange rate in the first nine months of 2019, driven mainly by its immunodiagnostic testing portfolio. 

For the nine months of 2019, the Basel, Switzerland-based company's total revenues rose 10 percent at CER to CHF 46.07 billion ($46.22 billion) from CHF 42.08 billion during the same period in 2018. 

On the diagnostics side, revenues grew to CHF 9.51 billion compared to CHF 9.38 billion last year, while the pharmaceuticals division revenues grew 12 percent to CHF 36.56 billion from 32.70 billion in 2018. 

Within the diagnostics division, Roche's centralized and point-of-care solutions business revenues grew 5 percent at CER to CHF 5.77 billion from CHF 5.63 billion a year ago. Its molecular diagnostics business revenues were up 7 percent to CHF 1.55 billion from CHF 1.47 billion, while its tissue diagnostics business revenues were relatively flat at CHF 799 million compared to CHF 801 million a year ago. The firm's diabetes care business revenues were down 2 percent to CHF 1.40 billion from CHF 1.48 billion. 

Sales for Roche's centralized and point-of-care solutions business made up the lion's share of Roche's diagnostical sales, 61 percent. Part of this growth was driven by the Cobas pro integrated solutions, which recently received clearance from the US Food and Drug Administration, the company said. Immunodiagnostics grew 10 percent, although that business was affected by a decline in coagulation monitoring, the company said in its earnings call following the release of the financial results.

Growth in the company's molecular diagnostics business was driven by blood screening, which grew 9 percent, as well as an increase in revenues in sequencing sample prep, and microbiology, it added. Point-of-care molecular diagnostics grew 26 percent, and virology increased 1 percent. 

The sluggishness in tissue diagnostics sales was the result of BenchMark and Discovery Ultra instrument shipment delays, but the instruments have resumed shipments, the firm said. Primary staining grew 1 percent, advanced staining grew 2 percent, and reagents grew 5 percent. 

The 2 percent decline in the diabetes care business sales was the result of price pressure in some European and Asian markets. There was also a 3 percent decrease in blood glucose monitoring and a 2 percent decrease in insulin delivery systems, the company said on the call. 

Roche also noted the approval by the FDA of the Cobas Babesia whole blood test, which marks the company's first commercially available whole-blood test to screen donations. The firm also launched its cobas EBV and BKV tsts for the Cobas 6800/8800 Systems for transplant patients in countries accepting the CE mark. 

Regional sales in diagnostics were driven by growth in Asia Pacific, which grew 9 percent at CER year over year. The region is Roche's largest customer, comprising 27 percent of the company's total sales. North America was down 1 percent. Latin America also was up 9 percent and Japan ticked up 3 percent. 

For the third quarter of 2019, Roche Diagnostics reported that its revenues rose to CHF 3.23 billion from CHF 3.11 billion, a 6 percent increase year over year. 

Roche raised its full-year 2019 guidance for sales growth to the high-single digit range at constant exchange rates with core earnings per share growth broadly in line with sales.