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Roche to expand drug portfolio

Cancer drug specialist Roche Holding AG has announced plans to expand its product portfolio and branch out into the therapeutic areas of metabolism, inflammation and diseases, Reuters reports.

In an interview with Reuters, Roche chief executive Severin Schwan said the company was planning to introduce at least six new products to its range by the end of 2014 and mooted plans for new line extensions of its existing cancer drug range which includes Avastin, MabThera, Herceptin and Actemra.

The plans were announced ahead of the group’s investor day which will take place amid concerns from shareholders about its pipeline strength and lower than expected sales of Roche’s core range of cancer drugs.

Roche’s decision to expand its reach into new treatment fields has been seen as a bold move considering its position as a market leader of cancer therapies. However, Mr Schwan said the group’s new line of experimental drugs to treat melanoma and raise “good” HDL cholesterol could transform treatment of cancer and heart disease.

Mr Schwan confirmed that the group’s existing drug portfolio, including Avastin, MabThera, Herceptin and Actemra, would drive short-term growth as they look to expand further.

Copyright Press Association 2010