Roche Holding AG is scheduled to report a 6% rise in sales for the third quarter on Oct. 19, with all eyes on the performance of its immuno-oncology treatment, Tecentriq, which Barclays analysts forecast will have lost market share to Merck & Co. Inc.'s Keytruda in bladder cancer.
Roche's dominance in first- and second-line settings for bladder cancer "has come under sharp pressure" after it failed to show overall survival benefit in the IMvigor 211 study — while Keytruda, in contrast, showed clear OS benefit in the Keynote-045 study, according to Barclays analyst Emmanuel Papadakis, who rates the company an "overweight."
Papadakis said that, while immuno-oncology treatments account for 60 percent of the bladder market, of which Tecentriq has the greatest overall share, use has been declining in favor of Keytruda. "Tarceva, Tamiflu and tail products will likely act as a drag, whereas we look to Perjeta, Tecentriq and Ocrevus to add meaningful offsetting growth," he said in a note to clients.
Biosimilar rivals to Rituxan, one of Roche's best-selling medicines, will probably also wear on third-quarter sales, according to Jefferies analyst Jeffrey Holford, who is expecting a 1% decline in sales of the drug at constant exchange rates. Revenue from cancer treatment Avastin probably also decreased due to competition, Holford said. He rates Roche shares "buy."
Both analysts expect a surge in sales of multiple sclerosis medicine Ocrevus.
"We believe continued reporting of strong quarter-over-quarter sales will affirm trajectory in the medium term and peak sales," Papadakis said.
Investors will seize on any comments regarding the hemophilia treatment ACE910, also known as emicizumab, ahead of the Haven 3 study data results expected in the fourth quarter. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is due to make a decision on whether to approve the treatment in February 2018.