Roche to post 'massive' margin boost, paper says

Looking for some good numbers in the pharma industry? Tune in Thursday, when Roche is scheduled to report its first-half results. Or so says the Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung, which cites unnamed sources as saying the company's pharma unit will post a "massive increase" in profit margin.

Roche's drug business has driven up margins to 39.1% for the first half of 2011, up from 34.9% at the end of 2010, Reuters reports. The strong Swiss franc will cut into the pharma unit's top line by up to 15%, SonntagsZeitung reports, but cost savings will more than make up the difference.

Like most major drugmakers, Roche has been cutting costs and jobs as it attempts to make up for lost patent protection on major products while facing pricing pressures in key countries and seeing some setbacks in getting new drugs to market. As Reuters notes, the company announced in November that it would cut 4,800 jobs over the next two years as part of a company-wide streamlining.

- read the Reuters news