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Roche, to counter biosimilars, sees launches, data on 8 new drugs by 2018

[ZURICH] Roche is planning launches or pivotal data for up to eight new medicines in the next three years as it seeks to fend off competition from copycat versions of its older drugs.

The Swiss drugmaker expects up to seven major results from clinical trials on new drugs or extensions for existing medicines through 2017.

That would add to seven clinical study results released in 2015, Roche said Thursday ahead of an event for investors where it was set to focus on research and development, its drug pipeline and strategy.

Roche is banking on a host of new drugs, including immune-system boosting atezolizumab for bladder and lung cancer and ocrelizumab for multiple sclerosis, to help it fend off competition from biosimilar versions of its older drugs starting in 2017 as their patents expire.