R&D budget: $8.7B (€6.4B)
Change from '08: +9.1%
Income spent on R&D: 19.4%
In 2009 Roche vaulted ahead in line to become the second biggest R&D spender in the world with an $8.7 billion research budget. For pharma, it's number one.
Spending the most money on R&D in the entire industry, though, isn't necessarily the kind of boast that Roche wants to make. Being the most productive is. And just like every other major pharma outfit going through a big merger, Roche wants to protect the best of what it acquired while undergoing a top-to-bottom review of its pipeline work and licensing needs following its acquisition of Genentech ($DNA).
Just days ago we reported that Roche may well decide to spin out some of its assets into new companies. That's how it's handled surplus IP before. And with plenty of talent and experimental products in the pipeline, there are plenty of resources to play with.
Roche has been credited with an envious position among the big players in the field, without the kind of near-term patent losses that are likely to derail its annual income anytime in the immediate future. But Roche has nevertheless had to suffer a string of key clinical setbacks that is unusual for the pharma giant.
One of its biggest setbacks in 2010: A late-stage failure this year for ocrelizumab, a rheumatoid arthritis therapy that had been one of the jewels in its 2009 crown of drug programs. Later in the year taspoglutide suffered its own huge setback in the clinic. Those clinical trials show once again that spending a ton of money on R&D is no protection from the huge risk of failure that dogs every study.