×

Novartis sticks to 2018 growth target, lifts Alcon outlook

  • Novartis reiterated its forecast that sales would start growing again in 2018
  • Core net income fell 2 percent to $2.87 billion, the Swiss drugmaker said in a statement

Novartis on Tuesday reiterated its forecast that sales would start rising again in 2018 with CEO Joseph Jimenez telling CNBC that the company is primed for its "next growth phase."

Novartis's pioneering cancer drug won the backing of a federal advisory panel last week, clearing the path for the gene therapy to be approved in the U.S. CEO Jimenez called it an "historic breakthrough."

"We were very pleased to hear that the FDA advisory committee voted unanimously to recommend approval of this new technology," he said Tuesday.

However, when quizzed on analyst expectations that the therapy could lead to worldwide peak sales of $1 billion, he said it was too early to say. The company is expected to sell two indications of the drug therapy and Jimenez said it will immediately commercialize the first if it gains approval in October this year.

A Novartis laboratory.
David L. Ryan | The Boston Globe | Getty Images
A Novartis laboratory.

His comments come Tuesday as the company reported earnings and lifted the full-year outlook for its Alcon eyecare division, as sales of surgical equipment finally ended a string of declines.

Core net income fell 2 percent to $2.87 billion, the Swiss drugmaker said in a statement, but beat the average analyst forecast of $2.668 billion in a Reuters poll. Sales fell 2 percent to $12.242 billion, hurt by declining revenue from blood cancer drug Gleevec and U.S. price pressure at the company's Sandoz generics business.

Novartis now expects Alcon's full-year sales to rise by a low single-digit percentage rate, having previously forecast revenue to remain stable or a low-single digit percentage rise.