Shares of Novartis were up more than 2 percent in midday trading Tuesday after the Swiss drugmaker reported better-than-expected results, as strong sales of new products and its leukemia drug Glivec helped offset full copycat competition for its former best-selling blood pressure pill Diovan.
Novartis CEO Joe Jimenez told CNBC's "Squawk Box" the company was able to weather the patent expiration thanks to sales of three new products: multiple sclerosis treatment Gilenya, leukemia drug Tasigna and breast cancer pill Afinitor. Each saw sales grow by more than 20 percent in the third quarter.
"When that happens, you're able to more than compensate for any kind of patent expiration you're going through," said Jimenez.
Group sales at Novartis rose 4 percent year over year to $14.7 billion, while core earnings per share jumped 10 percent to $1.37. Analysts in a Reuters poll had forecast sales of $14.54 billion and core EPS of $1.31.
Third-quarter net profit jumped 45 percent to $3.24 billion, well ahead of forecasts and boosted by an $800 million pretax gain from the sale of its shareholding in Idenix Pharmaceuticals, which was bought by U.S. drugmaker Merck in June.
Novartis kept its financial outlook for the full year unchanged, predicting low-to-mid single-digit sales growth in constant exchange rate terms. It also forecasts core operating income to grow at a mid-to-high single-digit rate.
The stock is up more than 20 percent so far this year, outperforming a 15 percent rise in the European health-care sector.