Novartis says Q3 profit up 17 percent to $3.15 bln

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2010 2:58 AM
Novartis says Q3 profit up 17 percent to $3.15 bln

Swiss pharmaceutical company Novartis AG posted a 17 percent rise in third-quarter net profit Thursday thanks to strong sales of new products and the acquisition of eye care company Alcon.

The maker of hypertension drug Diovan and anticancer treatment Glivec _ known as Gleevec in the United States _ said net profits reached $3.15 billion compared with $2.68 billion in the same period of 2009.

Sales rose 13 percent to $12.6 billion from $11.1 billion a year earlier. New products contributed 20 percent _ or $2.3 billion _ in revenue.

The Basel-based company is rushing to establish new best-sellers as its patent protection on Diovan gradually expires around the world. It recently gained U.S. approval for Gilenya, the first pill to treat the underlying causes of multiple sclerosis. Novartis is also touting Tasigna, a drug for chronic myeloid leukemia, as a potential pharmaceutical blockbuster.

Chief Executive Joseph Jimenez said he was confident that the company's research and development pipeline "will continue to deliver."

Net sales in its pharmaceuticals division rose 5 percent to $7.57 billion, while diagnostics and vaccines sales increased 16 percent to $632 million.

Generics division Sandoz saw sales rise almost 18 percent to $2.18 billion. It launched enoxaparin, a generic version of rival Sanofi-Aventis SA's anticlotting medicine Lovenox, to sales of $292 million during the quarter.

The consumer health division posted a 7.5 percent increase in sales to $1.59 billion.

For the first time Novartis also included $617 million in revenue from Alcon in its results, having completed the last tranche of its $49-billion takeover during the third quarter.

Novartis said overall quarterly sales and earnings would have been higher if not for the weak U.S. dollar.

The company said full-year sales excluding Alcon are expected to grow in the mid- to high-single digit range in constant currencies but noted that the $1 billion boost it received from swine flu vaccines last year wouldn't occur in the fourth quarter.