Novartis' net profit jumps in Q1
Novartis' net profit jumps in Q1

On Thursday, Novartis, a Swiss-based pharmaceutical company, reported an enormous jump in first-quarter net profit.

The company's net profit rose to $13.005 billion from $2.968 billion in the year-ago quarter. Profit was boosted by a $10.8 billion gain from transactions with GlaxoSmithKline PLC and Eli Lilly and Co.

Novartis' animal health business was sold to American global pharmaceutical company Lilly. Novartis also bought cancer drugs from British multinational healthcare company GSK and sold its non-flu vaccines business.

Both the companies combined their consumer health care businesses. These deals helped the company to focus on three core businesses, which include pharmaceuticals, generic drugs and eye care.

However, the company's sales and earnings fell due to a stronger dollar. Net sales fell 7% to $11.935 billion; profit fell 6% in dollar terms to $2.306 billion.

CEO Joseph Jimenez said that the company turned in a 'very solid financial performance' during the quarter. If the rise in the dollar has to be ignored, sales rose 3% and net profit rose 9%.

Jimenez added that their focus on execution has resulted in a strong operational performance. They completed the GSK and Lilly transactions and had three approvals in Oncology.

FDA priority review for LCZ696, Zarxio became the first biosimilar approved under the new pathway in the US. The company also launched Cosentyx, treatment for moderate to severe psoriasis globally.

Sales leaders included multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya, up 26% in constant currencies, and cancer drug Afinitor, up 18%. The company has high hopes from Cosentyx that was approved in the US and European Union during the quarter.

Novartis shares closed Wednesday's session in Zurich at 100.20 Swiss francs, up 0.65 francs on a volume of 4.32 million shares.

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