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Basel pharmaceuticals giant Novartis has enjoyed a successful second quarter and has now increased its full year guidance. Contributors to the growth are two innovative new medicines.
Novartis achieved net sales of 11.764 billion dollars in the second quarter, which represents a 4 per cent year-on-year increase. Core operating income grew by an impressive 14 per cent to 3.648 billion dollars, according to the results as reported in a statement. At the same time, net income fell from 7.7 billion dollars to 2.109 billion dollars – unlike the prior year, which included a 5.7-billion-dollar net gain from the sale of a joint venture company with GSK Consumer Healthcare.
Commenting on the whole first-half, CEO Vas Narasimhan said his company delivered an “exceptional performance”, which focused on innovative pharmaceuticals even after the spin-off of eye care branch Alcon. Among the contributors to the successful numbers were psoriasis drug Cosentyx (net sales up by 25 per cent in the second quarter) and heart medicine Entresto (up by 81 per cent).
Two recently approved medicines are set to continue this upward trend, according to Narasimhan. He said: “We continue to progress our breakthrough medicines pipeline, with the launches of Zolgensma and Piqray.” Gene therapy Zolgensma was developed to treat muscle weakness, while Piqray is a cancer therapy. With the approval of existing medicines such as Entresto for different disease areas, the company is “on track”, added the CEO.
For the current year, Novartis expects the divestment of its subsidiary Sandoz’s “oral solids and dermatology portfolio” in the USA to be completed. The company has also increased its full year guidance. It now expects sales to grow “mid to high-single digit (cc)”, up from previous estimates of mid-single digit. Core operating income is expected to grow “low double digit to mid-teens (cc)” instead of high-single digit.