Novartis earnings edge higher on Cosentyx, Entresto sales By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The company’s logo is seen at the new cell and gene therapy factory of Swiss drugmaker Novartis in Stein, Switzerland, November 28, 2019. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

By Ludwig Burger

(Reuters) -Novartis said on Tuesday its core operating income rose 3% in the first quarter as sales growth from new drugs offset unfavourable currency effects, but fell short of analyst estimates.

The Swiss drugmaker’s quarterly core operating income rose to $4.08 billion from $3.96 billion a year earlier. Analyst had expected it to be at $4.13 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

Quarterly revenues from arthritis and psoriasis drug Cosentyx gained 12% in constant currency to $1.16 billion, slightly below analysts’ average forecast of $1.19 billion.

Revenue from heart failure treatment Entresto jumped 42% to $1.1 billion, surpassing market consensus of $1 billion.

The Swiss drugmaker, which is weighing up interest in its generics business Sandoz from potential suitors, said that the strategic review of Sandoz was progressing and reiterated that it expects to provide an update by year-end at the latest.

Novartis raised the prospect in October of divesting Sandoz after years of revamping it, as price pressures mount in the off-patent drug sector.

Novartis, which confirmed its full-year 2022 earnings forecast on Tuesday, in December reaped $20.7 billion in proceeds from the sale https://www.novartis.com/news/media-releases/bilateral-transaction-between-novartis-and-roche-successfully-closed of its 33% stake in Roche back to the Swiss rival.

Despite plans to buy back up to $15 billion worth of shares, Novartis has said it would retain enough spending power to buy companies and technologies, back its own research efforts and pay attractive dividends.

This month it unveiled plans for a simplified structure that integrates its pharmaceuticals and oncology units, targeting savings of at least $1 billion by 2024.

($1 = 0.9207 Swiss francs)

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