US helps shore up Swiss drugs maker Roche in 2017

Health CareAssociated Press

Swiss pharmaceuticals company Roche saw a modest 3 percent rise in underlying profits last year, largely as a result of a strong performance in the United States.

The Basel-based company, which employs 94,000 worldwide, said core operating profit rose to 19.01 billion Swiss francs ($20.4 billion) in 2017, up from 18.42 billion francs a year earlier. Net profit fell 9 percent to 8.825 billion francs as a result of a series of charges.

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Roche, which does not break out its fourth-quarter results, also projected core earnings would rise in the high-single digits in percentage points this year.

Roche said recently launched multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus, cancer immunotherapy Tecentriq and lung cancer treatment Alecensa contributed 1.4 billion francs in new sales, or nearly two-thirds of growth in the pharmaceuticals division.

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This story has been corrected to show that its core earnings not sales that are expected to rise in high-single digits this year.

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