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Novartis sees demand returning to pre-COVID-19 levels in Q2 results

Swiss pharma company also provided key updates on a number of drug candidates in its pipeline

Swiss pharma company Novartis has delivered a strong set of results in the second quarter, thanks to “demand starting to return to pre-COVID-19 levels in most geographies and therapeutic areas”. 

In its second quarter results, Novartis noted net sales growth of 15% to $12.956bn, with a core net profit of $3.72bn.

In addition, core operating income increased by 18% to $4.35bn, driven primarily by higher sales and favourable gross margin.

In the first half of 2021, sales in Novartis’ innovative medicines business unit were up 5% in constant currencies to $20.8bn, with its pharmaceuticals business growing 6% driven by continued growth of heart failure drug Entresto (sacubitril and valsartan), monoclonal antibody Cosentyx (secukinumab), gene therapy Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec), wet AMD therapy Lucentis (ranibizumab) and multiple sclerosis drug Kesimpta (ofatumumab).

Its oncology business unit also grew by 4%, whiles its Sandoz generics unit posted a decrease of 5% in constant currencies due to the impact of COVID-19 in the EU. In the US, Sandoz net sales declined by 16% due to its retail generics business and partnership terminations.

In relation to COVID-19 impact, Novartis said that although demand is starting to return to pre-COVID-19 levels, it is still seeing some impact on parts of the business – including on oncology, generics and in certain geographies.

“We are assuming further easing of COVID-19 restrictions in the second half of the year with a positive impact on business dynamics,” the Swiss pharma company added.

Also in its Q2 update, Novartis reported on its drug pipeline, announcing that it would be abandoning a dry eye disease candidate – ECF843 – after phase 3 data failed to hit the mark.

The company also said it had resubmitted its cholesterol-lowering med inclisiran in the US, after the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Complete Response Letter earlier this year in relation to the drug.

In the EU, inclisiran is already approved under the brand name Leqvio for the treatment of high cholesterol in patients with hypercholesterolemia or mixed dyslipidemia.

Novartis also revealed in the Q2 update that it has submitted STAMP inhibitor asciminib – a potential treatment for Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukaemia in chronic phase – to the FDA for approval.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

22nd July 2021

From: Sales

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