Novartis has posted another strong set of financials for the third quarter this morning, boosted by its new drugs.

Net profits climbed 10% to $2.32 billion, as sales rose 13% to $12.58 billion. Pharmaceutical turnover was up 5% to $2.26 billion and Novartis' biggest-seller was the blood pressure lowerer Diovan (valsartan), sales inching up 1% to $1.48 billion. Turnover from Glivec/Gleevec (imatinib), for chronic myeloid leukaemia and gastrointestinal stromal tumours, were up 4% to $1.06 billion.

Femara (letrozole), for women with hormone-sensitive breast cancer, increased 4% to $343 million, though Zometa (zoledronic acid) for cancer complications fell 3% to $363 million. Turnover of the acromegaly therapy Sandostatin (ocreotide) rose 6% to $318 million.

As for Novartis’ newer products, the cardiovascular drug Exforge (amlodipine plus valsartan) brought in $222 million, up 30%, while Exjade (deferasirox), the first once-daily oral therapy for treating patients with iron overload, was up 5% to $182 million. The antihypertensive Tekturna/Rasilez (aliskiren) leapt 36% to $113 million.

Other highlights were the sales of Lucentis (ranibizumab) for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration shot up 19% to $398 million. Turnover from Galvus (vildagliptin) for type 2 diabetes soared 102% to $101 million.

The figures were also boosted by the contribution of the vaccines and diagnostics unit, where revenues climbed 16% to $632 million, and its Sandoz generics division. Sales at the latter increased 18% to $2.18 billion, boosted by the launch of its version of Sanofi-Aventis' Lovenox (enoxaparin), which achieved sales of $292 million.

Chief executive Joe Jimenez said "our innovation momentum and strong execution once more drove strong sales and core operating income growth". He noted that approvals for Gilenya (fingolimod), an oral treatment for multiple sclerosis, and Tasigna (nilotinib) for chronic myeloid leukemia,  as well as data on new medicines such as MenB, Novartis' meningococcal vaccine candidate, "give me confidence that our pipeline will continue to deliver".

On a conference call, Mr Jimenez added that Novartis is not providing an earnings outlook for 2011, saying that US healthcare reform "will have an impact," although cost controls and new drug launches will help the firm weather the storm. He also noted that the comany will not be raising its offer to minority shareholders at soon-to-be acquired Alcon, saying its attractiveness has increased due to the rising Novartis share price and the strong Swiss franc.