Novartis on Tuesday boosted its full-year targets, as sales of medicines including psoriasis drug Cosentyx and gene therapy Zolgensma helped the Swiss drugmaker surpass analysts' third-quarter expectations.
Sales are now seen growing at a high single-digit percentage rate at constant currencies, from the mid-to-high single digit rate forecast from July. Core operating income is now seen growing at a mid- to high-teen rate, up from low double-digit to mid-teen percentages.
Third-quarter core net income rose 17% to $3.2 billion. Sales were $12.2 billion, well beyond the $11.7 billion average in a Refinitiv poll.
The shares were seen rising more than 2%, according to pre-market indicators provided by Bank Julius Baer.
Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan has now raised targets for the third time this year, matching cross-town rival Roche's guidance moves, amid his push to expand into gene therapy and advanced cancer treatments.
Zolgensma, the $2.1 million-per-patient treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, posted $160 million in sales. Novartis now anticipated approval in Europe and Japan only in 2020, not this year as previously expected.
Narasimhan said the issues that pushed back Japanese and European decisions on Zolgensma centred on regulators' questions about manufacturing, not about data manipulation surrounding its U.S. approval that have spurred a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation.
"For both regulators, the written questions have not related specifically to any of the data topics we've had recently," Narasimhan said. "They were primarily related to the manufacturing issues, as well as interest in doing additional inspections of our various manufacturing facilities."