Roche Q3 sales rise 3 pct, confirms outlook

Roche on Thursday confirmed its full-year 2016 outlook on the strength of robust sales of cancer drugs including Tecentriq, the new immunotherapy that the Swiss company is banking on to counter patent expirations of its older medicines.

Third-quarter sales at the world's biggest maker of cancer drugs rose to 12.48 billion Swiss francs ($12.61 billion) from 11.9 billion francs in the same period in 2015, it said.

Analysts polled by Reuters had on average expected sales of 12.68 billion francs.

Roche said all of its recently launched medicines had performed well, with Tecentriq bringing in 77 million francs since its approval in May for bladder cancer. That revenue is now due to accelerate after U.S. regulators this week gave the drug a green light to be used against lung cancer.

"Tecentriq has been performing strongly since May," Chief Executive Severin Schwan said in the statement. "Based on our performance so far, I am confident that we will meet our full-year targets for 2016."

Schwan, who aims for Tecentriq to muscle in on territory now dominated by immunotherapy drugs from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Merck & Co, expects Roche's 2016 sales to grow by a low- to mid-single digit percentage rate at constant exchange rates, with core earnings growing faster than sales.

The company plans to boost its dividend in Swiss francs.

Nine-month sales rose 4 percent at constant exchange rates to 37.5 billion francs, shy of the average analyst estimate of 37.7 billion francs in a Reuters poll.

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