Trial failures put onus on Roche

The pressure's on at Roche. Some months into its full ownership of Genentech, Roche has seen a couple of setbacks in its development program for that "pipeline-in-a-drug," Avastin. Will it fare any better with its future efforts to broaden Avastin use? Can it win new indications for Avastin's fellow cancer med Herceptin? What about Rituxan/MabThera?

Executives will seek to quell any fears about these efforts at a meeting Thursday. Analysts are looking for reason to believe, the Wall Street Journal reports. "Roche will have to prove that with the takeover of Genentech it can turn into a real leader in pharma and biotechnology," Zuercher Kantonalbank analyst Michael Nawrath told the paper. "[I]t needs to prove it can produce growth out of these candidates."

New indications are important for Avastin, Herceptin and Rituxan to keep those three key meds growing; after all, they represent more than one-third of the company's sales. Analysts will be looking for info on how much Roche expects these three drugs to grow--this year and as time goes on. The company will also talk about its experimental drugs. Stay tuned later this week for an update.

- read the WSJ piece