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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 February 2007, 12:54 GMT
Tamiflu boosts drug firm's profit
Masked person holding Tamiflu pills
Many countries have been stockpiling Roche's Tamiflu drug
Swiss drugs group Roche has reported a 34% jump in annual profits, boosted by sales of its flu anti-viral Tamiflu.

Roche said net income in 2006 rose to 9.17bn Swiss francs (3.7bn; $7.4bn), from 6.86bn francs a year ago.

The Basel-based firm added that strong demand for its cancer drugs Herceptin and Avastin also buoyed profits.

However Roche said it expected demand for Tamiflu from governments building stockpiles to slip in 2007, despite a recent outbreak of bird flu in the UK.

Roche said total group sales during 2006 rose by 17% to 42bn francs.

The company added that it expected further strong growth in 2007, driven by its pharmaceuticals and diagnostics divisions.

"With our broad portfolio of innovative products and strong R&D pipeline, we are equipped to continue growing well ahead of the market," said chairman Franz Humer.

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