Novartis Beats Q1 Expectations, Raises 2024 Outlook on Strong Drug Sales

Novartis_iStock, Kannan D

Pictured: Novartis headquarters in Basel, Switzerland/iStock, Kannan D

Swiss drugmaker Novartis reported first-quarter 2024 financial results Tuesday beating consensus expectations in profit and sales driven by strong demand for blockbuster heart failure drug Entresto and psoriasis treatment Cosentyx, while raising its outlook for the year.

In Q1, Novartis’ net sales increased 11% and core operating income jumped 22%. Quarterly adjusted operating income increased 16% to $4.54 billion, beating a consensus analyst estimate of $4.3 billion, while revenues grew 10% to a better-than-expected $11.83 billion. The company now predicts net sales in 2024 to grow in the high-single to low double-digit range, following previous growth guidance in the mid-single-digit percentage range.

Entresto sales brought in over $1.8 billion in Q1 due to “demand-led growth” in the U.S. and Europe amid “continued adoption of guideline-directed medical therapy in heart failure.” Cosentyx nabbed over $1.3 billion in the quarter growing in the U.S., emerging growth markets and Europe, driven by recent launches of intravenous formulations.

Other key earners across all regions included the multiple sclerosis treatment Kesimpta, which captured $637 million in sales and marked a 66% growth rate. Breast cancer drug Kisqali posted a 54% jump from the same period the prior year, pulling in $627 million.

The company’s Q1 2024 results were welcome news for investors as Novartis’ fourth quarter and full-year 2023 results reported in January included net sales of $11.4 billion, which fell short of the analysts’ consensus estimate of $11.56 billion.

“Novartis continued our strong momentum with sales growth and core margin expansion in Q1. Our performance was broad-based, across all key growth brands and geographies, allowing us to raise guidance for 2024,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement. “The momentum in our business and pipeline gives us continued confidence in our mid- and long-term growth outlook.”

Novartis also announced that it is nominating former Bristol Myers Squibb CEO Giovanni Caforio as the chairman of its board of directors. Caforio will look to replace Joerg Reinhardt, who is set to retire at the end of his term in 2025.

Caforio was with BMS for over 20 years, serving in the CEO role from 2015 until he stepped down in late 2023 and was succeeded by then-COO Christopher Boerner. He continued to serve as executive chairman of BMS. Novartis said that under Caforio, BMS was “successfully transformed” into a global company with “strong capabilities across R&D and commercialization.”

Tyler Patchen is a staff writer at BioSpace. You can reach him at tyler.patchen@biospace.com. Follow him on LinkedIn.

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