Roche's chief executive has told Reuters that he expects half of the Swiss major's portfolio to be made up of targeted drugs in 10 years.

In an interview with the news agency, Severin Schwan (pictured) added that "I would assume in 20 years this percentage is going to increase". Half of the products in Roche's late-stage pipeline already have companion diagnostics and he believes the firm's diagnostics-pharma combination will give it a march on rivals. "We believe that by having it integrated at a very, very early stage, we have a competitive edge," Mr Schwan said.

He expects autoimmune diseases like asthma to be the next field to benefit from the targeted approach after cancer, and spoke enthusiastically about lebrikizumab, a humanised monoclonal antibody designed to block interleukin-13, which has moved into Phase III. "If this works, I believe this will change the standard of care for asthma treatment," he added.

Mr Schwan went on to tell Reuters that he believes Roche will be able to charge a premium for targeted therapies despite government spending cuts." Allocation of healthcare resources will go where you have the biggest impact in terms of improvement of health for the individual patient," he said, noting that the costs of developing drugs could potentially fall, as fewer patients will be required for trials.