UPDATE 1-Novartis raises 2018 sales outlook as Entresto, Cosentyx accelerate

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ZURICH, Oct 18 (Reuters) - 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.

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.

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. (Reporting by John Miller; Editing by Michael Shields)