Dow Jones Newswires: Novartis net income climbs as drug sales grow

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Novartis AG said Tuesday that net income rose 8% in the third quarter as it benefited from growing sales across its drug portfolio.

Net income in the period was $2.04 billion, growing from $1.88 billion last year, on sales that rose 10% to $12.17 billion. An analyst consensus forecast provided by FactSet estimated quarterly net income of $2.47 billion and sales of $11.71 billion.

The Swiss drug giant NVS, -0.37% NOVN, -0.43%  singled out cardiovascular drug Entresto as well as psoriasis treatment Cosentyx as helping drive topline growth.

Core operating profit, a figure watched by analysts that strips out extraordinary items, was $3.75 billion, up from $3.26 billion

Sales of Zolgensma, a gene-therapy for infant spinal muscular atrophy and which is now the world’s most expensive drug, totaled $160 million, well ahead of the $90 million forecast by analysts at French brokerage Kepler Cheuvreux.

In August, Novartis disclosed that data manipulation occurred during the development of the therapy, with two researchers exiting the company in the wake of the scandal.

Novartis said that it expects sales in 2019 for its focused medicines company to grow by a high single-digit percentage at constant currency. Core operating income is expected to grow by a mid-to-high teen percentage, also stripping out currency effects.

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