Roche profits tumble in first six months of 2012

Swiss pharma giant Roche on Thursday said it was on course to meet its objectives despite a 17-percent drop in first half profits to 4.4 billion francs ($4.5 billion).

Roche profits tumble in first six months of 2012

The figure was linked to restructuring charges associated with the closure of its US research and development facility in Nutley, New Jersey, Roche said in a statement.

The Nutley closure — involving the loss of 1,000 jobs — will result in savings of 370 million francs, Roche said, although the measure cost 858 million francs.

Further streamlining in the company's diabetes and applied science sectors cost 289 million francs and another 530 million francs was spent on global restructuring, Roche said.

Operating profit was up seven percent to 8.6 billion francs and the company's turnover rose to 22.4 billion euros, up three percent on 2011, despite downward pressure on prices, particularly in

The pharmaceuticals sector achieved the best results, with operating profit up nine percent.

The main growth drivers were cancer medicines, the hepatitis drug Pegasys, rheumatoid arthritis treatment Actemra/RoActemra and the clinical laboratory business.

Looking ahead, Roche chief executive Severin Schwan said the restructuring measures would enable the group to invest in clinical trials and that “barring unforeseen events”, he expected “low to mid-single digit sales growth”.

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Swiss-American antibody drug ‘effective at preventing Covid infection’

US biotech firm Regeneron and its Swiss partner Roche unveiled promising clinical trial results Monday indicating that an antibody treatment used to treat Covid-19 patients also helps prevent infections.

Swiss-American antibody drug 'effective at preventing Covid infection'
Photo: Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP

The results of the Phase 3 trial showed that the combination of the antibodies casirivimab and imdevimab dramatically reduced the risk of symptomatic infection among people living with Covid-19 patients, Roche said in a statement.

The trial entailed injecting 1,505 people not infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus but living in households with people carrying the virus with the Regeneron antibody cocktail or a placebo.

READ MORE: Why are vaccination appointments still vacant in Zurich?

The trial, which was conducted in cooperation with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, showed that those who received the antibody cocktail saw their risk of symptomatic infection reduced by 81 percent, the companies said.

It also indicated that those treated with casirivimab and imdevimab who did experience symptomatic infection on average saw their symptoms clear within one week — far faster than the three-week average for those who received the placebo.

In a separate part of the study, 204 people who had recently tested positive for Covid-19 but showed no symptoms received either a dose of the antibody cocktail or a placebo.

Those who received the cocktail saw their risk of developing symptoms reduced by 31 percent compared to the placebo group, the companies said.

“Today’s data confirm the potential dual value of casirivimab and imdevimab to reduce household Covid-19 infections and to decrease the disease burden in those who do become infected, when given as a subcutaneous option,” Levi Garraway, Roche’s chief medical officer said in a statement.

“Although vaccinations are increasing globally, there remains a critical unmet need worldwide to prevent infections and provide immediate protection from Covid-19 between close contacts,” he said.

EXPLAINED: How Switzerland is speeding up its vaccination programme

Regeneron president and chief scientist George Yancopoulos agreed, pointing out that in the United States alone, 60,000 people are being diagnosed with Covid-19 every day.

The antibody cocktail “may help provide immediate protection to unvaccinated people who are exposed to the virus”, he said in a statement, adding that it could also potentially “provide ongoing protection for immunocompromised patients who may not respond well to vaccines”.

Regeneron said it would present the data to the US Food and Drug Administration and request it clear the Covid antibody cocktail for use as a preventative treatment.

The companies said they would share the new data with health regulators worldwide.