What is Roche Personalised Healthcare all about?

It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than what sort of disease a person has.

At Roche, we believe personalised healthcare can transform patients’ lives by delivering care tailored to the individual, thereby helping to prevent, diagnose and treat patients more effectively and quickly.

How does PHC work?


Patients who suffered from a broad category of disease were treated with the same medicines, leaving physicians to puzzle over why they worked for some people and not others.


Scientists have begun to understand, target, and diagnose illnesses on a molecular level. Cancer, for instance, is not one disease, but the result of innumerable genetic mutations. We are now aware that there are 250 to 300 types and subtypes of cancer.

The approach to treatment has fundamentally changed. Doctors can identify the drivers of the disease and therefore better predict how well a patient is going to respond to a treatment. With the help of sophisticated diagnostic tests and tools, specific genetic defects or other malfunctions can be detected and treated.

But our understanding of medicine continues to grow. For instance, we are just beginning to learn what drives illnesses such as Alzheimers’. And the experience of millions of patients in the clinic every day is captured on paper, stored in archives and never tapped into to understand whether and how treatments can be improved.


In an era of digital technology, we will be able to increasingly tailor medical treatment to the needs of individuals and small groups of patients. Far more information will be captured, stored and analysed to learn how diseases manifest themselves and how patients experience them day-to-day. Combined with a deeper understanding of molecular science and new methods for diagnostics, this development will bring disruptive change to how we research, develop, approve and pay for medicines, as well as how patients and their physicians make decisions about whether, when and how to treat their illnesses.

  • Employing diagnostic tests like liquid biopsy help to find the specific genetic defects or biomarkers in the patients’ tissue to understand the molecular root cause of the disease.

  • As one disease may have different, multiple causes, scientists can distinguish between different patient sub-groups.

  • Development of a targeted molecule.

  • Recruitment of relevant patients for clinical studies.

  • Identify biomarkers, develop a medicine and diagnostic tests to detect and address the malfunctioning in the body.

  • PHC evidence supports early approval from regulatory bodies.

What is changing?

From primarily looking at the disease location in the body
to understanding what drives a disease at the molecular level.
From trial and error
to continuously learning from every patients’ experience and diagnosis.
From one-size-fits all medicines
to treatment decisions fitted to patient’s unique need.
From paper records
to a digital loop of sharing insights between clinical practice and research.

Who benefits?



  • Increased confidence in treatment decisions and improved outcomes for patients
  • Greater clarity in an increasingly complex landscape of treatment options
  • Improved quality of life and lifetime gained
  • Fewer unnecessary treatments, side effects and associated costs through smarter decisions on whether, when and how to treat
  • Greater peace of mind with higher probability of success
  • More efficient use of funds in the healthcare system
  • Higher cure rates
  • Lower burden of disease

Which diseases are we treating today with Roche Personalised Healthcare?


Metastatic breast cancer

15 – 20% of patients are HER2-positive

Non-small cell lung cancer

10 – 30% of patients are EGFR-positive and more than 8% are ALK-positive

Viral infections

Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C, HIV

Metastatic melanoma

~ 50% of patients are BRAF-positive

Stomach cancer

16 – 22% of patients are HER2-positive

What progress has been made in lung cancer?

Targeted treatments are based on the molecular causes of disease. That means they operate based on the presence of biomarkers and through companion diagnostic tests indicating mutations or genetic expressions in the patients' tissue. For example, in the past non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was just diagnosed as NSCLC. Today we know over a dozen gene mutations that can play a role in this type of cancer. Therefore, the detection of biomarkers via diagnostic tests allows for a more targeted treatment patients can benefit from.


Mutations potentially causing non-small cell lung cancer. These variations could not be distinguished in the past.


What are people saying?