According to CEO Severin Schwan, Roche will continue to produce new drugs that have companion diagnostics. He says he expects these products to become a much bigger percentage of the Roche pipeline -- more than 50% of the portfolio by next 10 years -- and account for higher percentages of revenue too. Schwan says Roche has a good head start in this field as it has a strong diagnostics group that it began leveraging earlier than competitors.
"We believe that by having it integrated at a very, very early stage, we have a competitive edge," Schwan said. He also said that everyone has to follow the science to be successful in pharma and that the revolution in molecular biology has provided new understanding that will enable Roche to keep coming up with innovative products. Schwan says cancer treatments, like Herceptin and newly approved Zelboraf, have benefited from these targeted drug approaches in defined populations and asthma patients may be next to realize these benefits with Roche's coming lebrikizumab.
Schwan finishes by saying these more niche drugs can still be blockbusters (> $1 billion in sales) as they deliver great benefits to the patients they treat. Targeted drugs will also eliminate unneccessary testing and treatment of patients who won't be responsive which will save money and protect these patients from unnecessary side effects. He believes that healthcare policy makers will recognize this and be willing to pay a premium for drugs that deliver the goods in terms of real patient benefit. See Fierce Biotech and Reuters.
Posted by Bruce Lehr Sep 1st 2011.