Novartis has announced a rise of 5% in net sales in 2018, bringing the net total to $51.9 billion.

The growth was mainly driven by Cosentyx (secukinumab), Novartis’ human IgG1κ monoclonal antibody developed for the treatment of psoriasis, ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis.

Financial results from the company’s fourth quarter show that Cosentyx delivered strong volume growth across all indications in the US and EU, with sales growing as much as 34% in the US, and 32% the rest of the world over and trajectory showing signs that the growth will continue.

The net sales were also boosted by increasing demand for biopharmaceuticals such as biosimilars, which grew by 29%, achieving a total of $390 million. In Europe, growth was mainly driven by Rixathon (rituximab), Erelzi (etanercept) and the recent launch of Hyrimoz (adalimumab).

The company plans to launch ten new blockbuster medicines by 2020. The pipeline includes innovative drug Zolgensma (onasemnogene abeparvovec-xxxx), a novel gene therapy designed to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) which gained FDA fast-track status last year.

“Looking ahead, we expect to sustain top and bottom line growth,” commented chief executive Vas Narasimhan, who last year made the decision to cull 110 projects from a total of 430 in order to focus resources on only the most cutting-edge drug candidates.