Q3 results: Roche, Trimeris

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Roche and Trimeris report high results for Q32006.

Roche - due to Tamiflu, cancer drug, and anti-influenza drugs.

Trimeris - due to its HIV drug Fuzeon.

Trimeris Inc. on Monday reported higher third-quarter sales for its HIV drug Fuzeon, saying this was the drug's best quarterly sales performance since its launch in 2003.

The biopharmaceutical company said in a statement global net sales of Fuzeon were $63 million, an increase of 29 percent over the year-ago quarter.

Trimeris reaffirmed its commitment to be profitable for 2006, including option expense, the company said.

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Roche Holding AG increased its sales in the third quarter by 19 percent, thanks to a strong showing of its cancer and anti-influenza drugs, the Swiss pharmaceutical company said Tuesday.

The Basel-based drugmaker said its sales reached 10.48 billion Swiss francs (US$8.27 billion; euro6.61 billion) in the period, up from 8.8 billion francs a year earlier.

Roche, which reports earnings only for the half year and full year, said it expects its full-year revenue and profit to be "significantly" higher than in 2005.


Sales also rose 19 percent in the first nine months, reaching a record 30.3 billion Swiss francs (US$23.9 billion; euro19.1 billion, Roche said. Measured in local currencies the sales increase was 17 percent.

"We are very confident about achieving our ambitious goals for the full year -- both in terms of sales and profits and in terms of advancing our development programs," Chief Executive Franz Humer said in a statement.

The figures beat analysts' expectations, but some cautioned that the good sales of Tamiflu, which governments have been stockpiling in case of an influenza pandemic outbreak, masked sluggish growth elsewhere.

"Other major products are showing a mixed picture at best," said Karl-Heinz Koch, a Zurich-based analyst with Lombard Odier Darier Hentsch.

Roche said it had ramped up its production capacity for Tamiflu to 400 million units, ensuring sufficient supply in case of a flu pandemic and for treatment of seasonal influenza.

The company also noted strong sales of its cancer treatment drugs Avastin, up 90 percent, and Herceptin, up 92 percent. Last week the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Avastin for the treatment of the most common type of lung cancer.

According to its own figures, Roche is now the sixth-largest drugmaker in the world, up from eighth a year ago.

Roche also announced a new cooperation with California-based biotech company InterMune Inc. to research, develop and market new Hepatitis C drugs known as Hepatitis C protease inhibitors.

While sales of medicines were up 23 percent to 23.91 billion francs (US$18.85 billion; euro15.06 billion), growth in Roche's diagnostics division during the first nine months was up 7 percent to 6.46 billion francs (US$5.09 billion; euro4.07 billion).

Shares in Roche fell 0.8 percent to 219.70 francs (US$173.16; euro138.36) in Zurich trading.

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