The world’s second biggest biotechnology company, Genentech, reported a strong 38% rise in full-year 2004 earnings per share to $0.73 versus the same period last year [[16/01/04b]], in what the company is calling a year of “significant achievement,” with two key drugs winning coveted US Food and Drug Administration approval [[27/02/04a]], [[22/11/04d]], and the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma therapy, Rituxan (rituximab), breaking through the $1.7 billion mark. However, the firm saw its share price slide during after-hours trading after it marginally missed its financial forecasts.

For the year, total product sales increased by 43% to just over $3.7 billion, with the company’s cancer franchise comprising 74% of revenues, led by a 15% hike in sales of the non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma therapy, Rituxan (rituximab), to $1.7 billion. Herceptin (trastuzumab), also made an important contribution, with sales rising 14% to $483 million, while the firm’s newly launched cancer drugs - Avastin (bevacizumab) for colorectal cancer [[27/02/04a]], and Tarceva (erlotinib) for non-small cell lung cancer [[22/11/04d]] - brought in $555 million and $13 million during the twelve months respectively.

The asthma drug, Xolair (omalizumab) posted sales of $189 million during 2004, versus $25 million in the few months it was on the market in 2003 [[23/06/03b]], and another relatively new offering, the psoriasis treatment, Raptiva (efalizumab), saw sales top $56 million.