Roche diagnostics division sales fall flat in Q1

Roche's ($RHHBY) diagnostics division generated mixed results in its 2013 first quarter. The Swiss drug giant generally enjoyed increased sales for its patient and laboratory tests. But the company's diabetes division continued to struggle, hammered by reimbursement cuts and tougher pricing pressures.

Sales for professional diagnostics soared 5% compared to the same period in 2012, and tissue diagnostics sales climbed a whopping 7% year-over-year. Countering those increases: Diabetes care sales dropped 5% and applied science sales faced a 10% decline. While reimbursement declines and pricing pressures hammered the diabetes line, less research funding and discontinued products contributed to the nosedive in applied science sales.

Overall, diagnostics division sales hit $2.6 billion, about 1% higher than the previous year.

For many device, diagnostics and drug companies, sales in emerging markets continue to be a bright spot, and that was the case for Roche's diagnostics division as well. The company said sales for the division grew 10% in the Asia-Pacific region and 7% in Latin America. Hitting the point home, North American sales dropped 4% (thanks to sluggish diabetes sales) and only climbed 1% in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Roche's diagnostic division had a busy quarter. Among the highlights: Roche secured the FDA's approval for a new viral load hepatitis C test. Roche also notes that it inked four new agreements with outside drug industry partners to develop companion diagnostic tests. In case you're counting, the number of outside companion diagnostics partnerships has now reached 40. And over 200 companion diagnostics projects are underway internally with Roche's pharmaceutical division.

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