Roche has posted a strong set of sales figures for the third quarter this morning, with turnover rising 14% (excluding currency effects) to 12.39 billion Swiss francs, boosted by a huge rise in Tamiflu revenue.

Sales at the Swiss major’s pharmaceuticals division reached 9.93 billion francs, a rise of 15%. As usual, the oncology franchise performed well, with Avastin (bevacizumab) recording an increase of 21% to 1.59 billion francs, while MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab) grew 7% to 1.50 billion francs.

Herceptin (trastuzumab) was up 8% to 1.33 billion francs, while Tarceva (erlotinib) sales grew 11% to 319 million francs. Xeloda (capecitabine) turnover was up 11% to 326 million francs.

The most impressive performance, however, came from the influenza jab Tamiflu (oseltamivir), sales of which leapt to 994 million francs from 101 million francs. The rise was due to the rapid worldwide spread of swine flu and Roche now expects full-year sales of Tamiflu of around 2.7 billion francs (up from a previous estimate of 2.0 billion francs) and about 700 million francs (up from 400 million francs) in 2010.

Of Roche’s other products, sales in the USA of Lucentis (ranibizumab), for wet age-related macular degeneration, increased 21% to 296 million francs, while the hepatitis C treatment Pegasys (peginterferon alfa) was up 13% to 438 million francs. On the negative side, the transplantation product CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) fell 26% to 362 million francs, while combined sales of Roche’s NeoRecormon and its Chugai unit’s Epogin (epoetin beta), for anaemia, declined 7% to 391 million francs.

Chief executive Severin Schwan said that sales by both pharmaceuticals and its diagnostics divisions “are significantly outgrowing their respective markets” and “based on this performance, we expect another very good full-year result”. He added that “I’m particularly pleased with the excellent progress we’re making in joining forces with Genentech”, which Roche fully acquired in March for $46.8 billion.

Roche has raised its outlook and now expects at least high single-digit sales growth for its pharmaceuticals division in 2009.