Novartis has posted a strong set of results for the second quarter, helped by the contribution from recently-acquired eye specialist Alcon and the healthy performance of its new drugs.

Net profit was up 12% to $2.73 billion, while sales reached $14.92 billion (+27%). Pharmaceutical turnover rose 10% to $8.34 billion, and growth for the Swiss major's newer drugs over the previous quarter was 46% to $3.80 billion.

Novartis' biggest-seller was once again the blood pressure lowerer Diovan (valsartan), though sales were down 3% to $1.51 billion, due to generic competition in  Spain, Canada and Brazil. Turnover from Glivec/Gleevec (imatinib), for chronic myeloid leukaemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumours, was up 12% to $1.20 billion, The successor to Glivec, Tasigna (nilotinib), also approved for CML, contributed $170 million, up 91%.

Femara (letrozole), for women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, fell 29% to $241 million, due to generic competition, while Zometa (zoledronic acid) for cancer complications slipped 1% to $376 million. Turnover of the acromegaly therapy Sandostatin (ocreotide) rose 17% to $365 million.

As for Novartis’ newer products, the cardiovascular drug Exforge (amlodipine plus valsartan) brought in $308 million, up 36%, while Exjade (deferasirox), for treating patients with iron overload, was up 21% to  $232 million. The antihypertensive Tekturna/Rasilez (aliskiren) leapt 45% to $159 million.

Other highlights were the sales of Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration, which shot up 44% to $541 million, while kidney cancer drug Afinitor (everolimus) brought in $102 million, up 72%. Turnover from Galvus (vildagliptin) for type 2 diabetes soared 65% to $165 million, while Novartis’ new oral multiple sclerosis drug Gilenya brought in $79 million.

As for the Swiss major’s other divisions, its vaccines and diagnostics unit saw revenues sink 47% to $299 million, as the like, year-earlier period included $200 million of A(H1N1) pandemic flu vaccine sales. Its Sandoz generics division saw sales increase 25% to $2.47 billion, while consumer health turnover climbed 13% to $1.19 billion. Alcon contributed $2.63 billion.

Chief executive Joe Jimenez (pictured) said that "excellent execution behind a sound strategy resulted in another successful quarter". He added that the firm "demonstrated the success of our R&D strategy with four major approvals and two filings in the second quarter", claiming that "our diversified healthcare portfolio, focused on high growth segments, is enabling us to generate superior results".