NUTLEY, N.J. and INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Roche, one of the world's leading healthcare innovators, celebrates its centennial anniversary in the United States this year. The company opened a small office in downtown Manhattan in 1905, and has since grown into an industry giant in pharmaceuticals and diagnostics.
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Founded by Fritz Hoffmann-La Roche in 1896 on a piece of land overlooking the Rhine in Basel, Switzerland, the company originated around the then-novel concept of applying emerging industrial manufacturing processes to the production of medicines of uniform strength and quality. Propelled by the turn-of-the-century success of the cough syrup Sirolin and the heart medication Digalen, Roche established a small U.S. office in New York on July 25, 1905. This meager beginning spawned a group of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics affiliates that today employ over 10,000 people at more than a half dozen sites across America. They are located in New Jersey (Nutley, Belleville and Branchburg), Indiana (Indianapolis), South Carolina (Florence), Colorado (Boulder), and California (Palo Alto, Pleasanton and Alameda). Together they generate more than one-third of the revenues of the global Roche Group, which has annual sales of some 30 billion Swiss francs, or more than $26 billion, and employ more than 60,000 people in over 100 countries around the world.
"Coming to America to prosper in the land of opportunity has long been a dream for many, including my great-grandfather, who had great hopes for Roche's future in the U.S. when he opened the first office there a hundred years ago," said Andre Hoffmann, 46, a member of the global company's board of directors. "I know he would have been proud of the way the company has fulfilled his dream in America, and especially of how Roche's innovations in the U.S. over the last century have extended and improved so many people's lives."
"Since 1905, our products have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of millions of mothers, fathers, grandparents, children and friends in the U.S. and around the globe," said George Abercrombie, president and CEO of Hoffmann-La Roche Inc., the company's U.S. prescription pharmaceuticals division. "We are all committed to another century of successful endeavors to help prevent, diagnose and treat diseases and look forward to a year of exciting activities surrounding this important milestone."
Heino von Prondzynski, CEO of the Roche Diagnostics Division and a member of the company's executive committee said, "It's great to be in the number one position in a huge and competitive market like the U.S. at the time of our company's 100th anniversary."
Roche diagnostic and therapeutic innovations of the last century have contributed to advances across the healthcare spectrum, from improvements in detecting and preventing disease to important steps forward in treating disease and monitoring therapy. Pharmaceutical innovations include products such as 5-fluorouracil, an early cancer medicine; Roferon-A, Roche's first genetically engineered pharmaceutical; Rocephin, an important antibiotic frequently used in hospitals to treat a host of infections; Fuzeon for HIV/AIDS; and Pegasys for hepatitis C. (Note: Full product, or prescribing, information for all Roche pharmaceutical products is available at http://www.rocheusa.com/).
In diagnostics, the list of innovations includes a host of critically important tests and instruments for detecting and monitoring diseases and conditions such as diabetes, hepatitis, cancer, HIV/AIDS and heart attacks. Roche Diagnostics is a pioneer and leader in diabetes care, where the company has been active for more than 30 years, and the division's Roche Molecular Diagnostics business area is the world's leader in polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technology.
Roche is planning a series of events and activities during 2005, with the 100th anniversary date falling on July 25. Among the company's plans for celebrating the centennial is a special program called "The First 100," which will recognize 100 employees nationwide for exemplary community volunteer work. Roche will make a contribution to the charitable organization of each employee's choice. This is in keeping with Roche's longstanding commitment to corporate citizenship, which it pursues through a multifaceted process of community involvement, charitable contributions, collaborations and partnerships. As one of the first companies in the United States to initiate a Corporate Giving Program, we believe social responsibility is a key strategic component of exemplary business practice.
In commemoration of its American Centennial, each major Roche U.S. site will sponsor a series of local internal and external events, activities and contributions. These will be announced on a local, site-by-site basis, during the course of the year.
About Roche - More Than a Century in the U.S. and the World
Founded in 1896 and headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world's leading innovation-driven healthcare groups. Its core businesses are pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. Roche is one of the world's leaders in diagnostics, the leading supplier of pharmaceuticals for cancer, as well as a leader in virology and transplantation. As a supplier of products and services for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on many fronts to improve people's health and quality of life. Roche employs roughly 65,000 people in 150 countries, including approximately 15,000 in the United States.
Roche's U.S. operations celebrate their American Centennial in 2005. In another milestone this year, Roche was named in January to Fortune magazine's list of Best Companies to Work for in America. One of an increasingly rare breed of major healthcare companies that still bear their original name, Roche today has more than a dozen U.S. sites located in California, Colorado, Indiana, New Jersey and South Carolina, as well as in Puerto Rico. Roche has alliances and research and development agreements with numerous partners, including majority ownership interests in Genentech and Chugai. Roche's Pharmaceuticals Division offers a portfolio of leading medicines in therapeutic areas including cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C, transplantation, dermatology and influenza. Roche's Diagnostics Division supplies a wide array of innovative testing products and services to researchers, physicians, patients, hospitals and laboratories world-wide. For further information, please visit our worldwide and U.S. websites (Global: http://www.roche.com/ and U.S.: http://www.roche.us/).
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