Hoffmann-La Roche

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Coordinates: 47°33′31″N 7°36′22″E / 47.558624°N 7.606018°E / 47.558624; 7.606018

Roche Holding AG
Traded asSIXROG
Founded1896; 122 years ago (1896)
FounderFritz Hoffmann-La Roche
HeadquartersBasel, Switzerland
Key people
ProductsPharmaceuticals and diagnostics (List of products)
Revenue53.3 billion Swiss francs (CHF) (2017)[3]
CHF 14.069 billion (2016)
CHF 9.576 billion (2016)[3]
Total assetsCHF 76.819 billion (2016)[3]
Total equityCHF 26.402 billion (2016)[3]
Number of employees
94,052 (2016)[3]
SubsidiariesGenentech, Ventana
The Roche Tower, headquarters of Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel (2015).
Participation certificate of the F. Hoffmann-LaRoche & Co AG, issued 15. January 1932

F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG is a Swiss multinational healthcare company that operates worldwide under two divisions: Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics. Its holding company, Roche Holding AG, has bearer shares listed on the SIX Swiss Exchange. The company headquarters are located in Basel.

The company controls the American biotechnology company Genentech, which is a wholly owned affiliate, and the Japanese biotechnology company Chugai Pharmaceuticals, as well as the United States-based Ventana. Roche's revenues during fiscal year 2016 were 50.58 billion Swiss francs,[3] or approximately US$51 billion. Roche is the third-largest pharmaceutical company worldwide.[4] Descendants of the founding Hoffmann and Oeri families own slightly over half of the bearer shares with voting rights (a pool of family shareholders 45%, and Maja Oeri a further 5% apart), with Swiss pharma firm Novartis owning a further third of its shares. Roche is one of the few companies increasing their dividend every year, for 2016 as the 30th consecutive year.[5] F. Hoffmann-La Roche is a full member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).[6]


Founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, the company was early on known for producing various vitamin preparations and derivatives. In 1934, it became the first company to mass-produce synthetic vitamin C, under the brand name Redoxon. In 1957 it introduced the class of tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines (with Valium and Rohypnol being the best known members). It manufactures and sells several cancer drugs and is a leader in this field. In 1956, the first antidepressant, iproniazid, was accidentally created during an experiment while synthesizing isoniazid. Originally, it had been intended to create a more efficient drug at combatting Tuberculosis. Iproniazid, however, revealed to have its own benefits; some people felt it made them feel happier. It was withdrawn from the market in the early 1960s due to toxic side-effects.

In 1976, an accident at a chemical factory in Seveso, Italy, owned by a subsidiary of Roche, caused a large dioxin contamination; see Seveso disaster. In 1982, the United States arm of the company acquired Biomedical Reference Laboratories for US$163.5 million. That company dated from the late 1960s, and was located in Burlington, North Carolina. That year Hoffmann–La Roche then merged it with all of its laboratories, and incorporated the merged company as Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc. in Burlington. By the early 1990s, Roche Biomedical became one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the United States, with 20 major laboratories and US$600 million in sales.[7]

Roche has also produced various HIV tests and antiretroviral drugs. It bought the patents for the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique in 1992. In 1995 the era of highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) was initiated by the United States FDA's approval of Hoffman LaRoche's HIV protease inhibitor saquinavir. Within 2 years of its approval (and that of ritonavir 4 months later) annual deaths from AIDS in the United States fell from over 50,000 to approximately 18,000 [8] On 28 April 1995 Hoffmann–La Roche sold Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc. to National Health Laboratories Holdings Inc. (which then changed its name to Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings).[9] Roche acquired Syntex in 1994 and Chugai Pharmaceuticals in 2002.

Oseltamivir is considered to be the primary antiviral drug used to combat avian influenza, commonly known as the bird flu. Roche is the only drug company authorized to manufacture the drug, which was discovered by Gilead Sciences. Roche purchased the rights to the drug in 1996 and in 2005 settled a royalty dispute, agreeing to pay Gilead tiered royalties of 14–22% of annual net sales without adjusting the payments for manufacturing costs, as had been allowedin the original licensing agreement.[10]

On 20 October 2005, Hoffmann–La Roche decided to license other companies to manufacture Oseltamivir.[11]

Also in 2005, Roche acquired the Swiss company GlycArt Biotechnology in order to acquire technology to afucosylate antibodies; one of its products in development was obinutuzumab, which gained FDA approval in November 2013 for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.[12][13][14]

On 22 January 2008, Roche acquired Ventana Medical Systems for $3.4 billion.[15] On 2 January 2009, Roche acquired Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp.[16] On 26 March, Roche acquired Genentech for $46.8 billion.[17] On 12 March 2009 Roche agreed to fully acquire Genentech, in which it had held a majority stake since 1990,[18] after 8 months of negotiations. As a result of the Genentech acquisition, Roche closed its Palo Alto based research facilities and moved them to their campus that straddles the border between Clifton, New Jersey and Nutley, New Jersey while Roche's United States headquarters, located on the site since 1929, was moved to Genentech's facility in South San Francisco.[19] Genentech became a wholly owned subsidiary group of Roche on 25 March 2009.[20]

On 13 April, Roche acquired Medingo Ltd., for $160 million.[21] On 23 August 2010, Roche acquired BioImagene, Inc., for $100 million.[22] In 2011, the company received the ISPE Facility of the Year Award for Process Innovation for Roche’s "MyDose" Clinical Supply project.[23] On 15 March, Roche acquired PVT Probenverteiltechnik GmbH for up to 85 million EUR.[24] On 19 July, Roche acquired mtm laboratories AG for up to 190 million EUR.[25] On 17 October, Roche acquired Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $230 million.[26]

On 26 June 2012, Roche announced the closure of the Nutley/Clifton campus, which was completed in 2013. The property is in the process of remediation.[27] On 2 July 2013, Roche Diagnostics acquired blood diagnostics company Constitution Medical Inc. for $220 million.[28]

On 7 April 2014, Roche announced its intention to acquire IQuum for up to $450 million,[29] as well as the rights to an experimental drug (ORY-1001) from Spanish company Oryzon Genomics for $21 million and up to $500 million in milestone payments.[30] On 2 June, Roche announced its intention to acquire Genia Technologies Inc. for up to $350 million.[31] In August 2014, the company agreed to purchase Californian-based pharmaceutical firm InterMune for $8.3 billion, at $74 a share this represents a 38% premium over the final share closing price.[32][33] In December 2014, the company acquired next-generation sequencing processing company Bina Technologies for an undisclosed sum.[34]

On 16 January 2015, the company announced that they would acquire Trophos for €470 million ($543 million) in order to increase the company's neuromuscular disease presence. The deal will centre on the Phase II and III spinal muscular atrophy drug olesoxime (TRO19622).[35] In August, the company announced its intention to acquire GeneWEAVE for up to $425 million in order to strengthen its microbial diagnostics business.[36] Days later the company acquired Kapa Biosystems focussing on next generation sequencing and polymerase chain reaction applications.[37] In October 2015, the company acquired Adheron Therapeutics for $105 million (plus up to $475 million in milestone payments).[38]

In January 2016, the company announced it would acquire Tensha Therapeutics for $115 million upfront, with $420 million in contingent payments.[39]

In January 2017, the company acquired ForSight VISION4.[40] In June, the company acquired the diabetes management platform, mySugr for an undisclosed price.[41] In late December the company announced it would acquire Ignyta Inc, expanding its global oncology business.[42]

In February 2018, Roche announced it would acquire Flatiron Health, a business specialising in US cancer data analytics, for $1.9 billion.[43][44] In June of the same year the company announced it would acquire the outstanding shares of Foundation Medicine for $2.4 billion ($137 per share).[45] Later in September Roche announced its intention to acquire Tusk Therapeutics for up to €655 million ($759 million) expanding Roche's oncology pipeline. Tusk announced that the anti-CD38 antibody it is developing will be spun off to form a new company, Black Belt Therapeutics.[46]

Acquisition history[edit]

The following is an illustration of the company's major mergers and acquisitions and historical predecessors (this is not a comprehensive list):


Hoffmann-La Roche
(Founded 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche)

Biomedical Reference Laboratories
(Acq 1982, restructured into Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc in 1982)

(Acq 1994)

Allergan, plc
(Acq 1996)

Warner Chilcott
(Acq 1999)

Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc
(Sold of 1995)

Chugai Pharmaceuticals
(Acq 2002)

454 Life Sciences
(Acq 2007)

Ventana Medical Systems
(Acq 2009, part of Roche Diagnostics)

Spring BioScience Corp
(Acq 2007)

Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp
(Acq 2009)

Genentech (Acq 2009)

(Acq 2014)

Tanox, Inc
(Acq 2006)

Genentech Canada[47]
(Acq 1990)

Medingo Ltd
(Acq 2010)

BioImagene, Inc.
(Acq 2010)

PVT Probenverteiltechnik GmbH
(Acq 2010)

MTM laboratories AG
(Acq 2010)

Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(Acq 2010)

Constitution Medical Inc.
(Acq 2012)

(Acq 2014)

Genia Technologies Inc.
(Acq 2014)

(Acq 2014)

Bina Technologies
(Acq 2014)

Ariosa Diagnostics
(Acq 2014)

(Acq 2015)

(Acq 2015)

Kapa Biosystems
(Acq 2015)

Adheron Therapeutics
(Acq 2015)

Tensha Therapeutics
(Acq 2016)

ForSight VISION4
(Acq 2017)

(Acq 2017)

Ignyta Inc
(Acq 2017)

Flatiron Health
(Acq 2018)

Foundation Medicine
(Acq 2018)

Tusk Therapeutics
(Acq 2018)

Financial data[edit]

Financial data in CHF billions[48]
Year 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Revenue 46.780 47.462 48.145 50.576 53.299
Net Income 11.164 9.332 8.863 9.576 8.633
Assets 62.167 75.641 75.763 76.819 76.676
Employees 85,080 88,509 91,747 94,052 93,734


Hoffmann-La Roche is strong in the field pharmaceuticals for cancer treatment, against virus diseases and for treatment of metabolic diseases. The company is the world's largest spender in pharmaceutical R&D.[49]

Tamiflu box

Drugs produced by Roche include:

Diabetes management products produced by Roche under the Accu-Chek brand include Accu-Chek Mobile, Accu-Chek Aviva, Accu-Chek Compact Plus, Accu-Chek Aviva Expert, Accu-Chek Active, Accu-Chek Advantage, Accu-Chek Performa, Accu-Chek Aviva Nano, Accu-Chek Performa Nano blood glucose monitors. Accu-Chek Spirit and Accu-Chek Combo insulin pumps. Accu-Chek 360 and SmartPix diabetes management software.

Other products include:

Price-fixing conspiracy[edit]

Stanley Adams, Roche's World Product Manager in Basel, contacted the European Economic Community in 1973 with evidence that Roche had been breaking antitrust laws, engaging in price fixing and market sharing for vitamins with its competitors. Roche was fined accordingly, but a bungle on the part of the EEC allowed the company to discover that it was Adams who had blown the whistle. He was arrested for unauthorised disclosure — an offence under Swiss law — and imprisoned. His wife, having learnt that he might face decades in jail, committed suicide.[51]

In 1999 the firm pleaded guilty to participation in a worldwide conspiracy to raise and fix prices for vitamins sold in the US and globally. Hoffmann-La Roche paid $500 million in criminal fines to the United States.[52][51][53]

Collaborative research[edit]

In addition to internal research and development activities F. Hoffmann–La Roche is also involved in publicly funded collaborative research projects, with other industrial and academic partners. One example in the area of non-clinical safety assessment is the InnoMed PredTox.[54][55] The company is expanding its activities in joint research projects within the framework of the Innovative Medicines Initiative of EFPIA and the European Commission.[56]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Executive Committee". Roche.com. F. Hoffmann-La Roche. Archived from the original on 14 September 2016. Retrieved 26 November 2016.
  2. ^ "FDA Grants Roche Breakthrough Therapy Designation on Hemophilia Drug". BioPharm International. UBM. 19 April 2018. Retrieved 2018-04-20.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Financial Report 2016" (PDF). Roche Holding. Retrieved 1 February 2018.
  4. ^ Pharm Exec's 2018 ranking of the top 50 pharma companies worldwide, www.pharmexec.com. Retrieved 21 July 2018
  5. ^ "Roche - Roche Annual General Meeting 2014". roche.com. Archived from the original on 14 March 2014.
  6. ^ "The Pharmaceutical Industry in Figures – 2008 Edition". European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). p. 49. Archived from the original on 16 September 2008. Retrieved 25 August 2008.
  7. ^ "Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc". FundingUniverse.com.
  8. ^ "HIV Surveillance --- United States, 1981—2008". Retrieved 8 November 2013.
  9. ^ Laboratory Corp of America Holdings · 10-Q · For 3/31/95, SECInfo.com, Filed On 5/15/95, SEC File 1-11353, Accession Number 920148-95-11
  10. ^ "Roche, Gilead End Tamiflu Feud". Red Herring. 16 November 2005.
  11. ^ Kher, Unmesh (2005-10-19). "Why Roche Released Tamiflu". Time. Time Inc. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
  12. ^ "Roche - Roche acquires Swiss based GlycArt Biotechnology to strengthen expertise in therapeutic antibody research". roche.com. Archived from the original on 5 February 2015. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  13. ^ Presentation: GlycArt Biotechnology AG From Inception to trade sale – and what happened after... by Dr. Joël Jean-Mairet. Brussels, March 31, 2011
  14. ^ Cameron F, McCormack PL. Obinutuzumab: first global approval. Drugs. 2014 Jan;74(1):147-54. PMID 24338113
  15. ^ "Roche buys Ventana". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  16. ^ Pollack, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Roche buys Memory Pharmaceuticals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  17. ^ Pollack, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Roche buys Genentech". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  18. ^ Pollack, Andrew (5 February 1990). "Genentech-Roche Deal May Spur Similar Ties". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  19. ^ Bawden, Tom (13 March 2009). "Roche swallows Genentech in third large drugs deal". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 2011-06-12. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  20. ^ Jucca, Lisa; Cage, Sam (26 March 2009). "Roche completes Genentech buy". Reuters. Retrieved 2009-04-11.
  21. ^ "Roche buys Medingo". Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  22. ^ "Roche buysBioImagene". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  23. ^ "2011 Facility of the Year Category winners!". Retrieved 2012-06-28.
  24. ^ "Roche buys PVT". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  25. ^ "Roche buys mtm labs". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  26. ^ "Roche buys Anadys". Archived from the original on 5 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  27. ^ "Roche announces closure of Nutley, NJ site". Archived from the original on 18 May 2013. Retrieved 28 June 2012.
  28. ^ "Roche buys Constitution Medical". Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  29. ^ "Roche buys IQuum". Archived from the original on 2 June 2014. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  30. ^ Copley, Caroline (7 April 2014). "Roche buys experimental drug rights from Oryson". Reuters. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  31. ^ Mulier, Thomas (2 June 2014). "Roche buys Genia". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 June 2014.
  32. ^ Michelle Cortez (24 August 2014). "Roche Holding Agrees to Buy InterMune for $8.3 Billion". Bloomberg.com.
  33. ^ "Roche pays 37% premium on shares for InterMune in US $8.3bn deal". San Francisco News.Net. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014.
  34. ^ "Roche Acquires Big Data Platform Provider". GEN.
  35. ^ "Roche to Buy Trophos for Up-to-$543M". GEN.
  36. ^ "Roche to Acquire GeneWEAVE for Up-to $425M". GEN.
  37. ^ "Roche Acquires Genomic Tools Provider Kapa Biosystems". GEN.
  38. ^ "Roche to Acquire Adheron Therapeutics for $105 Upfront - GEN Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Biotech from Bench to Business - GEN". GEN. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  39. ^ "Roche Acquires Tensha Therapeutics for $115M Upfront - GEN Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News - Biotech from Bench to Business - GEN". GEN. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
  40. ^ Inc., ForSight VISION4,. "ForSight VISION4, Inc. Announces Acquisition by Roche". www.prnewswire.com.
  41. ^ Miller, John. "Roche buys diabetes app firm in digital health push".
  42. ^ https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-ignyta-m-a-roche/roche-to-buy-u-s-cancer-drugmaker-ignyta-for-1-7-billion-idUKKBN1EG0HF
  43. ^ https://www.ft.com/content/f79d2cc0-1290-11e8-940e-08320fc2a277
  44. ^ https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-flatiron-health-m-a-roche-hldg/roche-to-buy-flatiron-health-for-1-9-billion-to-expand-cancer-care-portfolio-idUKKCN1FZ2R2
  45. ^ https://uk.reuters.com/article/us-roche-hldg-m-a-fmi/roche-pays-2-4-billion-for-rest-of-cancer-expert-foundation-medicine-idUKKBN1JF0F3
  46. ^ https://www.genengnews.com/gen-news-highlights/roche-acquires-cancer-immunotherapy-developer-tusk-therapeutics/81256285
  47. ^ "Genentech: Press Releases - Genentech Acquires Full Ownership of Canadian Operation". gene.com.
  48. ^ "Roche Holding Bilanz, Gewinn und Umsatz | Roche Holding Geschäftsbericht | 855167". wallstreet-online.de. Retrieved 2018-11-05.
  49. ^ Miller, John (19 December 2017). "Roche touts Swiss-led R&D unit after years in Genentech's shadow". Reuters. Retrieved 19 December 2017.
  50. ^ "Roche stops selling acne drug Accutane". Reuters. 2009-06-26. Retrieved 2016-02-23.
  51. ^ a b Mathiason, Nick (25 November 2001). "Blowing the final whistle". The Observer. Retrieved 30 September 2014.
  52. ^ Corporate Crime Reporter. Corporate Crime Reporter. Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  53. ^ "Cartel price announcements: The vitamins industry" (PDF). International Journal of Industrial Organization. 26. 2008.
  54. ^ Mattes, William B. (2008). "Public Consortium Efforts in Toxicogenomics". In Mendrick, Donna L.; Mattes, William B. Essential Concepts in Toxicogenomics. Methods in Molecular Biology. 460. pp. 221–238. doi:10.1007/978-1-60327-048-9_11. ISBN 978-1-58829-638-2. PMID 18449490.
  55. ^ "InnoMed PredTox Member Organizations". Archived from the original on 26 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-25.
  56. ^ Innovative Medicines Initiative. "IMI Call Topics 2008". IMI-GB-018v2-24042008-CallTopics.pdf. European Commission. Archived from the original on 15 October 2009. Retrieved 25 August 2008.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • Hans Conrad Peyer (1996) Roche – A Company History 1896–1996 Basel: Editiones Roche ISBN 3-907770-59-5