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Hoffmann-La Roche

Roche Holding AG
Industry Pharmaceuticals
Founded 1896
Founder Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche
Headquarters Basel, Switzerland
Key people
Christoph Franz (Chairman of the board),
Severin Schwan (CEO),
Daniel O'Day (COO, Pharmaceuticals),
Roland Diggelmann (COO, Diagnostics)
Products Pharmaceuticals and diagnostics (List of products)
Revenue 47.462 billion Swiss francs (CHF) (2014)[1]
CHF 14.090 billion (2014)
Profit CHF 9.535 billion (2014)[1]
Total assets CHF 47.272 billion (2014)[1]
Total equity CHF 21.558 billion (2014)[1]
Number of employees
88,509 (2014)[1]
Subsidiaries Genentech, Ventana
The Roche Tower, headquarters of Hoffmann-La Roche in Basel (2015).

F. Hoffmann-La Roche AG is a Swiss global health-care 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 and the company has many pharmaceutical and diagnostic sites around the world – including: Tucson, AZ; Pleasanton, CA; Vacaville, California, Oceanside, California, Branchburg, NJ; Indianapolis, Indiana; Florence, South Carolina; and Ponce, Puerto Rico in the US; Welwyn Garden City and Burgess Hill in the UK; Clarecastle in Ireland; Mannheim and Penzberg in Germany; Mississauga and Laval in Canada; Shanghai in China; Mumbai & Hyderabad in India; São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Segrate, Milan in Italy; Johannesburg in South Africa; Karachi, Islamabad and Lahore in Pakistan. There are 26 manufacturing sites worldwide.

The company owns the American biotechnology company Genentech, which is a wholly owned affiliate, and the Japanese biotechnology company Chugai Pharmaceuticals as well as the Tucson, Arizona-based Ventana. Roche's revenues during fiscal year 2014 were 47.46 billion Swiss francs,[1] or approximately US$48 billion. Roche is the third-largest pharma company worldwide.[2] 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 2013 as the 27th consecutive year.[3] F. Hoffmann-La Roche is a full member of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).[4]


  • History 1
    • Acquisition history 1.1
  • Products 2
  • Controversies 3
  • Collaborative research 4
  • Bibliography 5
  • See also 6
  • Notes and references 7
  • External links 8


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.[5]

Roche has also produced various HIV tests and antiretroviral drugs. It bought the patents for the polymerase chain reaction 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 [6] 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).[7] Roche acquired Syntex in 1994 and Chugai Pharmaceuticals in 2002.

On 22 January 2008, Roche acquired Ventana Medical Systems for $3.4 billion.[8] On 2 January 2009, Roche acquired Memory Pharmaceuticals Corp.[9] On 26 March, Roche acquired Genentech for $46.8 billion.[10] On 12 March 2009 Roche agreed to fully acquire Genentech, in which it had held a majority stake since 1990,[11] 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.[12] Genentech became a wholly owned subsidiary group of Roche on 25 March 2009.[13]

On 13 April, Roche acquired Medingo Ltd., for $160 million.[14] On 23 August 2010, Roche acquired BioImagene, Inc., for $100 million.[15] In 2011, the company received the ISPE Facility of the Year Award for Process Innovation for Roche’s "MyDose" Clinical Supply project.[16] On 15 March, Roche acquired PVT Probenverteiltechnik GmbH for up to 85 million EUR.[17] On 19 July, Roche acquired mtm laboratories AG for up to 190 million EUR.[18] On 17 October, Roche acquired Anadys Pharmaceuticals, Inc. for $230 million.[19]

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.[20] On 2 July 2013, Roche Diagnostics acquired blood diagnostics company Constitution Medical Inc. for $220 million.[21]

On 7 April 2014, Roche announced its intention to acquire IQuum for up to $450 million,[22] 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.[23] On 2 June, Roche announced its intention to acquire Genia Technologies Inc. for up to $350 million.[24] 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.[25][26][27] In December 2014, the company acquired next-generation sequencing processing company Bina Technologies for an undisclosed sum.[28] On 16 January 2015, the company annonuced that they would acquire Trophos for €470 million ($543 million) in order to increase the companies neuromuscular disease presence. The deal will centre around the Phase II and III spinal muscular atrophy drug olesoxime (TRO19622).[29] In August, the company announced its intention to acquire GeneWEAVE for up to $425 million in order to strengthen its microbial diagnostics business.[30] Days later the company acquired Kapa Biosystems focussing on next generation sequencing and polymerase chain reaction applications.[31] In October 2015, the company acquired Adheron Therapeutics for $105 million (plus up to $475 million in milestone payments).[32]

Acquisition history

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)

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)

(Acq 2009)

(Acq 2014)

Tanox, Inc
(Acq 2006)

Genentech Canada[33]
(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)

(Acq 2015)

(Acq 2015)

Kapa Biosystems
(Acq 2015)

Adheron Therapeutics
(Acq 2015)


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.


In 1999 the firm pled guilty to participation in a worldwide conspiracy to raise and fix prices for vitamins sold in the USA and globally. Hoffmann-La Roche paid $500 million in criminal fines[34] to the United States. 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.[35] Roche was fined a second time for vitamin price fixing in 1999, eventually paying a $500M fine.[35]

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.[36]

On 20 October 2005, Hoffmann–La Roche decided to license other companies to manufacture Oseltamivir.[37]

Collaborative research

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.[38][39] The company is expanding its activities in joint research projects within the framework of the Innovative Medicines Initiative of EFPIA and the European Commission.[40]


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

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Financial Report 2014" (PDF). Roche. Retrieved 28 January 2015. 
  2. ^ Pharm Exec's 2013 ranking of the top 50 pharma companies worldwide, Retrieved 22 February 2015
  3. ^ "Roche - Roche Annual General Meeting 2014". 
  4. ^ "The Pharmaceutical Industry in Figures – 2008 Edition". European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). p. 49. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  5. ^ "Roche Biomedical Laboratories, Inc". 
  6. ^ "HIV Surveillance --- United States, 1981—2008". Retrieved 8 November 2013. 
  7. ^ Laboratory Corp of America Holdings · 10-Q · For 3/31/95,, Filed On 5/15/95, SEC File 1-11353, Accession Number 920148-95-11
  8. ^ "Roche buys Ventana". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  9. ^ Pollack, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Roche buys Memory Pharmaceuticals". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  10. ^ Pollack, Andrew (12 March 2009). "Roche buys Genentech". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Pollack, Andrew (5 February 1990). "Genentech-Roche Deal May Spur Similar Ties".  
  12. ^ Bawden, Tom (13 March 2009). "Roche swallows Genentech in third large drugs deal".  
  13. ^ Jucca, Lisa; Cage, Sam (26 March 2009). "Roche completes Genentech buy".  
  14. ^ "Roche buys Medingo". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  15. ^ "Roche buysBioImagene". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  16. ^ ISPE "2011 Facility of the Year Category winners!" . Retrieved 2012-06-28. 
  17. ^ "Roche buys PVT". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Roche buys mtm labs". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  19. ^ "Roche buys Anadys". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  20. ^ "Roche announces closure of Nutley, NJ site". Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  21. ^ "Roche buys Constitution Medical". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  22. ^ "Roche buys IQuum". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  23. ^ Copley, Caroline (7 April 2014). "Roche buys experimental drug rights from Oryson". Reuters. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  24. ^ Mulier, Thomas (2 June 2014). "Roche buys Genia". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  25. ^ Michelle Cortez (24 August 2014). "Roche Holding Agrees to Buy InterMune for $8.3 Billion". 
  26. ^ "Roche pays 37% premium on shares for InterMune in US $8.3bn deal". San Francisco News.Net. 24 August 2014. Retrieved 24 August 2014. 
  27. ^ "Roche To Buy Biotech Firm InterMune For $8.3B". 
  28. ^ "Roche Acquires Big Data Platform Provider". GEN. 
  29. ^ "Roche to Buy Trophos for Up-to-$543M". GEN. 
  30. ^ "Roche to Acquire GeneWEAVE for Up-to $425M". GEN. 
  31. ^ "Roche Acquires Genomic Tools Provider Kapa Biosystems". GEN. 
  32. ^
  33. ^ "Genentech: Press Releases - Genentech Acquires Full Ownership of Canadian Operation". 
  34. ^ Corporate Crime Reporter. Corporate Crime Reporter. Retrieved on 2013-11-24.
  35. ^ a b Mathiason, Nick (25 November 2001). "Blowing the final whistle".  
  36. ^ "Roche, Gilead End Tamiflu Feud".  
  37. ^ Kher, Unmesh (2005-10-19). "Why Roche Released Tamiflu". Time (Time Inc.). Retrieved 2008-05-22. 
  38. ^ Mattes, William B. (2008). "Public Consortium Efforts in Toxicogenomics". In Mendrick, Donna L.; Mattes, William B. Essential Concepts in Toxicogenomics.  
  39. ^ "InnoMed PredTox Member Organizations". Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  40. ^ Innovative Medicines Initiative. "IMI Call Topics 2008". IMI-GB-018v2-24042008-CallTopics.pdf. European Commission. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 

External links

  • Official website
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