Basel-headquartered pharma giant Novartis announced its financial results for 2018 this week, showcasing full year net sales growth of five percent driven by the strong performance of the company’s pharmaceutical business unit and some strategic divestments.
In 2018 we reimagined Novartis. We took major steps towards becoming a medicines company that focuses its capital on developing, launching, and creating global access to breakthrough medicines
Vas Narasimhan, Novartis CEO
Commenting on the 2018 results, global CEO Vas Narasimhan said that “In 2018 we reimagined Novartis. We took major steps towards becoming a medicines company that focuses its capital on developing, launching, and creating global access to breakthrough medicines. Together with delivering strong accretive growth, we also advanced our strategic priorities including building new advanced therapy platforms, ramping up productivity and digital efforts, and creating a new culture.”
Oncology was a particularly strong segment for Novartis in 2018, with the oncology business unit growing by nine percent.
The company’s biopharmaceuticals division grew by an impressive 24 percent, but Novartis did see a contraction in the growth of its generics arm, Sandoz, sales of which were down three percent, “due to US price pressure” according to a press release.
Novartis is also keen to highlight its advanced therapy platforms in gene therapy and radioligand therapy, where it has made new acquisitions, and in cell therapy, where it expanded the global manufacturing base for CAR-T cell therapy Kymriah, including through multiple collaborations.
2018 saw Novartis step away from consumer healthcare, as GSK bought out Novartis’ share in the two companies’ OTC joint venture for a reported USD 13 billion.
Eyecare is another area soon to go, with the 100 percent spin-off of the Novartis ophthalmology division, Alcon, set to be completed early this year.
With a more streamlined and profitable organization in place, Narasimhan is extremely optimistic on the company’s potential. “Looking ahead, we expect to sustain top and bottom line growth driven by the strength of our in line brands and our exciting lineup of 10 potential blockbuster launches by 2020,” he concludes.