Roche shakes up R&D, eyes new buyouts

Right click to view pictureRoche is shaking up its research and development operations with an eye to boosting the number of new drugs it can push through the pipeline. Roche officials say they are taking a new approach that highlights the importance of therapeutic development over business operations. Several new executives have been appointed with mandates to improve coordination inside R&D, which is divided into the following five arenas of molecular mechanisms: oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and the central nervous system.

Roche's CEO, meanwhile, has ruled out a venture in the generics field, saying its rich pipeline gives the drug company an opportunity to stay focused on new programs. The pronouncements came as Roche announced a 34 percent jump in profits for 2006 as new cancer therapies swelled its bottom line. That money, says CEO Franz Humer (pictured above), gives Roche plenty of resources for any new small or medium-sized acquisitions that come its way, though he ruled out a big acquisition. And Humer also raised the possibility of increasing its stake in Genentech and Chugai.

- read more about the R&D changes from The Australian
- here's the AFX report on Roche's plans
- and CNN weighs in with this report