Roche's Q1 Highlights: Increased Uptake Of Eye Disease Drug Cushions Sales Decline

Roche Holdings AG's RHHBY first-quarter sales dropped 7% Y/Y (down 3% at constant currency) to CHF 15.3 billion on falling demand for COVID-19 therapies and diagnostics kits.

Excluding COVID-19, Roche's sales grew 8%. Pharmaceuticals Division sales were up 9% to CHF 11.7 billion.

The eye medicine Vabysmo, launched in early 2022, became the division's biggest growth driver, generating CHF 432 million in Q1 sales.

Related: FDA Approves Roche's Polivy Combo Therapy For Untreated Patients With Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma.

The Diagnostics Division base business grows 4%, while divisional sales of CHF 3.6 billion are 28% lower due to exceptionally high demand for COVID-19 tests in the first quarter of 2022.

COVID-19 tests dropped to CHF 0.3 billion in the first quarter of 2023 from CHF 1.9 billion a year ago.

Roche CEO Thomas Schinecker: "We saw strong growth in the first quarter in both divisions' base business, which largely compensated for the expected drop in sales of COVID-19 tests."

Guidance: Sales and core earnings per share were still expected to decrease at a "low single-digit" percentage in 2023, Roche added.

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