July 25, 2019 / 1:10 PM / 5 months ago

Roche brags about faster Ocrevus sales after rival MS drug launches

ZURICH, July 25 (Reuters) - Roche took a swipe at rival drugmakers on Thursday saying their attempts to muscle in to the multiple sclerosis market had only boosted sales of its own product.

Roche's pharmaceuticals head Bill Anderson said the market share of the Swiss drugmaker's multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus rose after Novartis introduced its medicine Mayzent and Merck KGaA launched Mavenclad earlier this year.

On a conference call after Roche's results release Anderson was asked if he had seen any impact of rival launches to Ocrevus sales. In the first half of 2019, Ocrevus revenue rose 63 percent to 1.7 billion Swiss francs ($1.72 billion), and was cited as a driver behind Roche's move to boost full-year sales guidance.

"Yes, we have seen an impact -- the impact is that Ocrevus's share goes up," Anderson told analysts. "So, yeah, we hope there are more competitive launches like that."

Novartis and Merck won approval for their oral treatments from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in March as they seek to take market share from Ocrevus, which Roche CEO Severin Schwan has called the most successful drug launch in Roche's history. (Reporting by John Miller, editing by John Revill)

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