Roche’s first-half profit fell 7 percent as the strength of the Swiss franc offset rising sales of new medicines, the biggest maker of cancer drugs said yesterday. Net income declined to Sf5.6 billion (R65.3bn), it said. Earnings a share excluding some items, known as core earnings a share, came in at Sf7.57, above the Sf7.43 average of eight estimates. The firm’s new breast cancer drugs delivered growth. Kadcyla sales almost tripled to Sf227 million at constant exchange rates, and Perjeta sales nearly quadrupled. Roche reiterated a full-year forecast of low- to mid-single-digit revenue gains, in line with a 5 percent increase in the first half. Roche shares gained 1.2 percent to Sf269.70 by midday in Zurich. – Bloomberg