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Type Public / Private
Founded 1896
Slogan Weinnovate healthcare

Our purpose

Doing now what patients need next We believe it’s urgent to deliver medical solutions right now – even as we develop innovations for the future. We are passionate about transforming patients’ lives. We are courageous in both decision and action. And we believe that good business means a better world.

That is why we come to work each day. We commit ourselves to scientific rigor, unassailable ethics, and access to medical innovations for all. We do this today to build a better tomorrow.

We are proud of who we are, what we do, and how we do it. We are many, working as one across functions, across companies, and across the world.

We are Roche.


Improving patients' lives for more than a century

Roche milestones The founder of Roche, Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche, was a pioneering entrepreneur who was convinced that the future belonged to branded pharmaceutical products.

1896 The founding year – first successes F. Hoffmann-La Roche & Co. was founded at a time when the industrial revolution was changing the face of Europe. On October 1, 1896, at the age of 28, Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche launched his company as the successor company to Hoffmann, Traub & Co in Basel, Switzerland. He was among the first to recognize that the industrial manufacture of medicines would be a major advance in the fight against the disease. Since then, Roche has grown into one of the world's leading healthcare companies.

1897-1914 Expansion and internationalization Roche soon expands its business activities. From 1897 to 1910, the factory in Grenzach, Germany, is enlarged and the lion’s share of manufacturing moves there. Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche and his new partner Carl Meerwein waste little time in building a network of European and overseas agents and subsidiaries. By 1914 Roche has offices in Milan, New York, St. Petersburg, and London, among others.

1915-1927 The time of crisis The First World War has devastating repercussions for Roche. The German boycott of its products, Basel’s isolation from its plant in Grenzach, Germany, the loss of the company’s Russian market and assets in the revolution of 1917, and sizeable foreign exchange losses combine to create a financial crisis. In response, Roche is transformed legally into a limited company. Additionally, Roche bemoans the death of founding father and visionary Fritz Hoffmann in 1920. A glimmer of hope arises with the classic study by Markus Guggenheim of biogenic amines, which enhances Roche’s standing in the scientific community.

1928-1944 Vitamin boost overcomes the crisis Roche managed to overcome the crisis under the leadership of chairman Emil C. Barell. The company experienced an unexpected upsurge spurred by its vitamin production, which made the return to former prosperity possible. Roche is able to expand once more and starts its strong commitment to the US-American market with first investments in New York and Nutley.

1945-1964 Streamlining and improving production Vitamin output increases and new production locations strengthen Roche’s position as one of the main producers of vitamins. To avoid a strong dependency on vitamins, Roche intensifies pharmaceutical research. Between the early 1950s and mid-1960s pharmaceutical research is extremely diverse, with a portfolio of pharmaceuticals ranging from antidepressants and antimicrobials to agents for cancer chemotherapy. During this period, Roche’s researchers discover a compound of the benzodiazepine class that sedates without causing drowsiness.

1965-1978 Diversification Propelled by the success of the benzodiazepines, Roche diversifies across the entire spectrum of healthcare. In Switzerland and the United States, bioelectronics departments are set up to develop electronic medical instruments. Rocom and Medicovision are the company’s forays into medical publishing. The acquisition of Dr. R. Maag AG, a plant protection company, reflects Roche’s growing involvement in agrochemicals. In Nutley, USA, a new diagnostics department is established.

This period also marks the start of Roche’s involvement in basic biomedical research. The company establishes the Roche Institute of Molecular Biology in Nutley, the Basel Institute for Immunology and the Nippon Research Center in Kamakura, Japan. A chemical accident at an Italian subsidiary is a major setback.

1979-1990 Reform, concentration, and transparency Roche begins to tighten its organizational structure and moves towards creating separate business units. Additionally, corporate activities are consolidated through acquisitions and divestments. After the corporate realignment, Roche operates with four core business divisions: pharmaceuticals, vitamins and fine chemicals, diagnostics, and flavors and fragrances.

1991-2000 International expansion and innovative developments Through its commitment to research and innovation, Roche continues to make steady advances in drug therapy that will replace more expansive treatments and shorten hospital stays.

2000-2006 Company restructures to focus on biotech Roche ranks among the world’s leading healthcare companies with its expertise in two core businesses – Diagnostics and Pharmaceuticals. Combined with its strength in biotechnology, the company paves the way to the future of healthcare with innovations in areas such as personalized healthcare.

2007-Today Moving towards personalized healthcare The increased focus on innovation and biotechnology lead to important advances in diagnostic techniques and medicines aimed at molecular targets. As a result, many diseases can be detected earlier and treated more specifically. The full integration with biotech pioneer Genentech in 2009 follows acquisitions of other key players in life science research, gene sequencing and tissue diagnostics. These strengthen Roche’s access to innovation and new technologies and drive its commitment to more targeted treatments that, ultimately, make personalized healthcare a reality.

Our Strategy

We are guided by our purpose: Doing now what patients need next. Our company has a 120-year history of advancing the field of medicine and bringing novel treatments and diagnostics to patients. The patient is and will remain at the core of what we do, the reason we come to work every day. Our focus Our focus is on fitting treatments to patients: providing the right therapy for the right group of people at the right time. With our in-house combination of Pharmaceuticals and Diagnostics, we are uniquely positioned to personalized healthcare. We are developing our internal capabilities and building strategic partnerships ready for the next stage in personalised healthcare: to combine insights from multiple data sources with sophisticated analytics to drive more effective and efficient research and allow for better therapeutic decisions for patients. Access to our products is also a critical part of our strategy. Our detailed access plans are embedded into the business at a local level.

We will continue to concentrate our energies entirely on prescription medicines and in vitro diagnostics, rather than diversify into other sectors like generics and biosimilars, over-the-counter medicines and medical devices.

Our distinctiveness In our pursuit of excellence in science, our distinctiveness rests on four key elements: an exceptionally broad and deep understanding of molecular biology, the seamless integration of our pharmaceuticals and diagnostics capabilities, a diversity of approaches to maximize innovation, and a long-term orientation.

Our delivery Our delivery is to create value for all our stakeholders: being a partner of choice; bringing significant medical benefit for patients, doctors and payers; offering a great place to work for employees; having a sustainable impact on society; and creating top-quartile total shareholder return for our investors.

Our people In the end, it takes people with integrity, courage, and passion to make a difference for patients. It is our people who are proud to say: We are Roche. We embrace the diversity of cultures and people across the Group. We are inclusive and encourage the richness of ideas and approaches this brings.

Our decision making Our decision-making principles and processes emphasize transparent dialogue, clear accountability, and encourage a high degree of empowerment.

Our structure Our structure is built for innovation. Our autonomous research and development centers and alliances with over 200 external partners foster diversity and agility. Our global geographical scale and reach enable us to bring our diagnostics and medicines quickly to people who need them.

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