Novartis boosts 2019 targets after third-quarter beat

James Marshall
October 24, 2019

Zolgensma, the $2.1m-per-patient treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, posted $160m in sales.

It's possible Zolgensma sales will increase next year, as European Union regulators are expected to issue a decision on approval sometime in Q1 2020, while Japanese regulators could issue their decision sometime in the first half of next year.

"We're very pleased with the uptake", Narasimhan told reporters on a call. The sales of Zolgensma exceeded the average expectations of analysts.

Novartis reported a 17% rise in third-quarter core net income to $3.2 billion.

Newly-approved breast cancer therapy Piqray (alpelisib) also got off to a good start with sales of $43 million in the quarter, and overall Novartis revenues topped analyst expectations with a 13% increase to $12.17 billion. Previously, an increase of up to 15 percent was assumed. While the FDA said it still believes Zolgensma is safe and effective for human use, it said it could pursue civil or criminal penalties, and Novartis became the target of bipartisan outrage.

Novartis says it has two other pivotal trials ongoing in moderate-to-severe asthma that are due to read out next year and will wait until that data is available before deciding the fate of the project.

"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", he added. The Swiss group claims to benefit from its experimental gene therapy against a rare muscle disease.

"Access has been one of the key drivers", he said.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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