IBJNews

Roche continues to restructure diabetes unit

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Roche Diagnostics Corp.’s diabetes business continues to restructure, even as the company won its third product approval of the year in the United States.

Roche officials said last week that price competition and lower reimbursement rates are driving a change in its research & development units, first launched this summer, which will trim about 100 positions combined from its R&D hubs in Indianapolis and Mannheim, Germany. Also, Roche is continuing to streamline its U.S. field sales staff, a move first announced in January, in an effort that will trim an unspecific number of employees.

Meanwhile the Swiss company, which operates its North American headquarters out of Indianapolis, continues to clear away the regulatory roadblocks that have held back its diabetes business in recent years.

Roche won approval last week from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the next generation of its hospital blood glucose meter, called Inform II.

The product had been held up at the FDA for unknown reasons since late 2010. Roche has had a variety of problems with the FDA that have held back its sales in the United States, forcing the company to compete short-handed against products launched with newer technology and features.

Roche’s North America diabetes sales fell 4 percent last year to about $667 million. The company employs about 2,900 people in Indianapolis, about one-third of whom work in the diabetes business. Roche has roughly 1,000 field sales staff around the country that report to the Indianapolis office.

After Roche acquired insulin pump maker Disetronic in 2003, the FDA said the company’s factory in Switzerland wasn’t up to snuff. That kept Roche’s insulin pumps off the market until 2006, and its sales have suffered ever since.

In 2009, Roche was trying to get a new blood glucose monitor approved for diabetics in the United States. But the FDA objected to the meter’s use of an enzyme that, in rare cases, did not distinguish between glucose and another sugar called maltose. When that happened, the monitor could produce a falsely high reading, leading patients to take a dose of insulin that was too large.

In 2011, Roche retooled its plant in Indianapolis that makes the chemistry strips for blood glucose monitors, eliminating the problem with maltose.

That change helped Roche win approval in January for its new blood glucose monitor, called the Accu-Check Nano SmartView.

The change in strip technology also appears to have helped Roche win approval for the Inform II, which the company began selling this month. The delayed approval of the Inform II played a role in the breakdown of a buyout deal Roche struck two years ago with a company that makes software for its products.

“Accuracy and patient safety are the foremost concerns for blood glucose testing in hospitals and other point-of-care settings,” said Roland Diggelmann, chief operating officer at Roche Diagnostics, in a prepared statement.

Diggelmann touted the launch of the Inform II during a conference call with investors on Oct. 16. But he also said growing pricing pressure from competitors is contributing to slower sales in diabetes. Through the first nine months of this year, Roche’s global diabetes sales fell 5 percent.

“We are addressing this and want to secure long-term profitability via restructuring, addressing both ends: the cost structure side as well as the sales and product and innovation side,” Diggelmann said during the conference call. “We are in the process of doing this in the R&D organization, focusing on competent centers both in Indianapolis and Mannheim. We're also optimizing the [marketing] investments with some field force restructurings, which have already started to take place, mainly in the United States, and also streamlining the operation structure.”

The changes in R&D will move all development of blood glucose monitors to Indianapolis over the next ocuple years, while all R&D on insulin pumps will move to Germany, said Roche spokesman Todd Siesky. The changes in the sales force are making all representatives sell both monitors and pumps, rather than having specialized teams for each porduct line.

Roche only discloses North American diabetes sales results every six months. Through the first half of this year, diabetes products, including blood-glucose monitors and insulin pumps, saw their sales fall by 1 percent, to about $296 million.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. This is still my favorite Mexican restaurant in town. What I do love about the new version is it is much quieter than the most recent version. TV's were off, the music wasn't too loud, and the wait staff were not hyperactive like they had been the past few times I had been there. I just wish they would bring back the MOLE for the enchiladas!

  2. Not a bad paper. There is a need for local community news and city government issues. Don't really need the owner's constant national political rants. We all know where they stand by now.

  3. What nice people. Menard should've known better than to team up with the guy who robbed and drove Conseco to ashes. I'm surprised Timothy Durham isn't involved in this.

  4. Hello, I am Maris Peters, currently living in Texas city, USA. I am a widow at the moment with three kids and i was stuck in a financial situation in August 2014 and i needed to refinance and pay my bills. I tried seeking loans from various loan Companies both private and corporate but never with success, and most banks declined my credit. But as God would have it, I was introduced to a Man of God a private loan lender who gave me a loan of $65,000USD and today am a business owner and my kids are doing well at the moment, if you must contact any firm or company with reference to securing a loan without collateral , no credit check, no co signer with just 2% interest rate and better repayment plans and schedule, please contact Mr William David. He doesn’t know that am doing this but am so happy now and i decided to let people know more about him and also i want God to bless him more.You can contact him through his email: Davidloanfirm@yahoo.com

  5. It is beyond me how anyone can think this was a "bad deal" for the state! If they could take the money back then, yes, but they can't! Protections were built in the agreement. Now, if they roll the roads up and take them away, I will agree that it was a bad deal. Otherwise, the only way to have paid for the infrastructure that was badly needed was for the state to issue bonds....that is a four letter synonym for debt folks!!

ADVERTISEMENT