Roche has posted a healthy set of financials for the third quarter, bolstered by continued growth of its cancer drugs.

The Basel-based major says sales reached 11.57 billion francs, up 8%, while pharmaceutical revenues rose 9% to 9.03 billion francs. The top-selling drug was MabThera/Rituxan (rituximab), approved for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia as well as rheumatoid arthritis, contributed 1.80 billion francs in the oncology setting, an increase of 12%.

Sales of Herceptin (trastuzumab) for HER2-positive breast cancer rose 7% to 1.51 billion francs, while Avastin (bevacizumab) had sales of 1.62 billion francs (+14%). The chemotherapy Xeloda (capecitabine) was up 6% to 393 million francs, while sales of Tarceva (erlotinib), for advanced lung and pancreatic cancer, increased 5% to 327 million francs.

As for Roche’s other products, Lucentis (ranibizumab) for wet age-related macular degeneration leapt 21% to 431 million francs, while RoActemra/Actemra (tocilizumab) for rheumatoid arthritis, rocketed 33% to 267 million francs.

Pegasys (peginterferon alfa-2a), for hepatitis B and C, fell 16% to 303 million francs. while the transplantation product CellCept (mycophenolate mofetil) slipped 2% to 216 million francs. Roche also noted that Zelboraf (vemurafenib) brought in 89 million francs, up 38%.

Chief executive Severin Schwan (pictured) said demand for Roche's products has remained strong in both its pharmaceuticals and diagnostics divisions. "We will meet our full-year targets", he said, adding that he was very encouraged by the uptake of the group's two breast cancer treatments - Kadcyla (trastuzumab/emtansine) and Perjeta (pertuzumab).

Roche, which does not publish quarterly profit figures, noted that it has 65 new molecular entities in its pipeline, and around two-thirds of its late-stage compounds are being developed with a companion diagnostic.