Novartis Lifts 1Q Profit on New Products

Shares of Novartis (NYSE:NVS) rose more than 3% in morning trade after the company revealed a stronger-than-expected jump in first-quarter revenue, led by recently introduced products in its pharmaceuticals unit.

The Swiss-based drug maker said revenue jumped 16% to $14 billion from $12.1 billion the year-earlier period. Net income was $2.8 billion, or $1.21 a share, down about 4% from $2.9 billion, or $1.29 a share, in the same quarter last year, due primarily to additional financing costs related to its takeover of Alcon.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters had expected earnings of $1.30 a share on revenue of $13.8 billion.

Helping to widen sales, recently launched products contributed 25% of pharmaceuticals revenues, an increase of 33% over the year-earlier period. The improvement was led by its key new multiple sclerosis pill and other drugs such as Lucentis and Afinitor.

Sandoz grew 15% in the U.S., Canada and most parts of Europe, more than offsetting a shortfall in Germany.

Vaccines and diagnostics fell 73% during the quarter due to stronger year-ago H1N1 pandemic flu vaccine sales.