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(Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG pointed toward rising sales this year as its new cancer immune therapy Tecentriq gains wider use for lung tumors.
Revenue will probably rise by a low to mid-single digit percentage at constant exchange rates, the same pace as earnings per share excluding some items, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said in a statement Wednesday. Last year’s core EPS rose to 14.53 Swiss francs ($14.66), falling short of the 14.73 franc average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
The world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs is relying on new medicines to buoy its earnings as it faces the prospect of biosimilar competition for its biggest treatments, Rituxan, Herceptin and Avastin, targeted tumor therapies that were revolutionary when they were first approved in the late 1990s and mid-2000s. Now Roche is competing with Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. to develop the best immune therapies, medicines that harness the body’s own cells to fight cancer.
Roche’s Tecentriq won U.S. regulators’ approval in October for second-line lung cancer after being cleared for advanced bladder tumors in May. Sales last year rose to 157 million francs. Revenue from breast tumor therapies Kadcyla and Perjeta, key to maintaining leadership in a market long dominated by Roche’s older treatment Herceptin, rose to 831 million francs and 1.8 billion francs, respectively.
Roche raised its dividend to 8.20 francs.
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