Roche pushes pipeline as US biosimilars hit

US biosimilars are finally coming for Roche’s blockbusters. But the Swiss company, which posted solid second-quarter results today despite European biosimilar competition, is confident of weathering the storm. Though Roche did not give 2020 guidance its chief executive, Severin Schwan, said during a conference call that sales and earnings would grow next year. As well as pinning hopes on new launches like Ocrevus and Hemlibra, Roche expects its pipeline projects to step into the biosimilar breach, and Mr Schwan highlighted the most promising of these today. Among them were the keenly awaited spinal muscular atrophy project risdiplam, and a port delivery system for the eye drug Lucentis, which is due to yield data from its pivotal trial in mid-2020, around a year ahead of schedule. Roche also has high hopes for its cancer drug Gazyva in lupus, where it recently reported a topline phase II hit; however, the sellside has not yet factored lupus into forecasts. A look at Roche’s at-risk US sales shows that the company has much to do to replace big products, although obviously these revenues will not disappear completely overnight.

Give and take: can Roche's pipeline stem biosimilar losses?
Going out…
Product Details 2019e US sales ($m)
Avastin Amgen/Allergan launched Mvasi in US July 2019 2,913
Herceptin Amgen/Allergan launched Kanjinti in US July 2019 2,739
Mabthera/Rituxan US biosimilar competition due Nov 2019 4,152
  Total under threat 9,804
Coming in…
Project Details 2024e global sales ($m)
Risdiplam Filing in spinal muscular atrophy due H2 2019 828
Satralizumab Filing in neuromyelitis optica due 2019 391
Etrolizumab Filing in ulcerative colitis due 2020 387
Ipatasertib* Various oncology filings due 2020 404
Idasanutlin Filing in r/r AML due 2020 207
Port delivery system Filing in AMD due 2020 -
Faricimab (RG7716)  Filing in AMD/DME due 2021/22 430
RG6042 (IONIS-HTTrx) Filing in Huntington's due 2022 at latest 407
  Total to play for 3,054
*Licensed from Array Biopharma (Pfizer). Source: company presentation & EvaluatePharma.

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