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.