Roche: Top Innovative Company in Biomedicine

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Roche is one of 10 biomedicine companies included in Technology Review’s 50 Most Innovative Companies (TR50) for 2012 [1].


What is a TR50 company? It is a business whose innovations force other businesses to change their strategic course. TR50 companies are nominated by Technology Review’s editors who look for companies that, over the last year, have demonstrated original and valuable technology, are bringing that technology to market at a significant scale, and are clearly influencing their competitors.

Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., also known as Roche, is the world’s largest biotech company with truly differentiated medicines in oncology, virology, inflammation, metabolism and CNS. Roche is a leader in research-focused healthcare with combined strengths in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is a leader in in-vitro diagnostics, tissue-based cancer diagnostics and a pioneer in diabetes management.

Founded in 1896 by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, the company was initially known for producing various vitamin preparations and derivatives. In 1934, it became the first company to mass produce synthetic vitamin C under the brand name Redoxon. In 1957, Roche introduced the class of tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines (including the brand names Valium and Rohypnol). With continued acquisitions and mergers, by the early 1990s, Roche had grown into one of the largest clinical laboratory networks in the U.S., with 20 major laboratories and $600 million in sales.

Drugs produced by Roche include Valium, Avastin, Accutane, Herceptin, Tarceva and Tamiflu. Blood glucose monitoring products produced by Roche under the Accu-Chek brand include Accu-Chek Mobile, Accu-Chek Aviva, Accu-Chek Compact Plus.

At Roche, personalized healthcare is at the core of the company’s business strategy. Roche is meeting the growing demand for highly effective, impactful medicines by offering innovative tests and medicines. Roche’s personalized healthcare strategy aims at providing medicines and diagnostic tools that enable tangible improvements in the health, quality of life and survival of patients.

Roche was chosen to be a TR50 company because the company’s new drugs target genetic mutations in cancer cells. A key innovation of the company is the development of a lung-cancer drug and a diagnostic test for the mutation that makes some cancers susceptible to the drug.

In June 2012, Roche announced that it is closing its former U.S. headquarters in Nutley, New Jersey, a sprawling facility where the drugs Valium and interferon were invented [2]. Nutley served as Roche’s U.S. headquarters for marketing, sales and administration, in addition to the base for numerous research programs, for 80 years (from 1929 until 2009). In March 2009, Roche bought biotech drugmaker Genentech and moved the U.S. headquarters from Nutley, N.J. to Genentech’s facility in South San Francisco, California.

Interested in other Top Innovative Companies in Biomedicine? Check them all out with the tag Top Innovative Companies in Healthcare.


  1. The 50 Most Innovative Companies in 2012. Technology Review. Accessed 2012 Apr 10.
  2. Roche closing NJ site in 2013, cutting 1K jobs. Associated Press. 2012 June 27.
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