Novartis raises 2018 sales outlook as Entresto, Cosentyx accelerate

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Swiss drugmaker Novartis raised its full-year sales outlook, citing growing revenue from its Cosentyx psoriasis and arthritis drug as well as the performance of its heart failure medicine Entresto, whose third-quarter sales more than doubled.

It also announced on Thursday the $2.1 billion acquisition of U.S. biopharmaceutical company Endocyte.

Novartis now expects sales to grow in the mid-single-digit percentage range at constant currencies, up from its previous forecast of low-to-mid-single-digit percentage rates.

“We are very pleased with how the innovative medicines business is performing, we are seeing strong growth on our key growth drivers Entresto and Cosentyx as well as across our oncology portfolio,” Vasant Narasimhan, CEO of Novartis, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” on Thursday.

Operating profit was still seen rising in the mid-to-high-single-digit percentages.

Third-quarter core net income rose 2 percent to $3.1 billion, compared to the average analyst forecast of $3 billion in a Reuters poll.

Sales rose 3 percent to $12.78 billion, compared to the average forecast of $12.84 billion in the poll.

“I think we really have to show investors that we have the innovation power to grow… And I think investors understandably for a period of time were questioning whether that innovation power is there,” Narasimhan said.

“I hope we are starting to demonstrate through the work we are doing in these platforms, the other filings that we announced today that we have that innovation power to drive growth — and that will ultimately be reflected in our valuation.”

Novartis said it expected 2018 net sales at its innovative medicines division to grow at a mid-to-high-single digit rate, its Sandoz generics business to decline at a low-single-digit rate, and its Alcon eye care business to grow at a mid-single-digit pace.

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