Biogen and Novartis released their latest respective earnings reports Tuesday morning, highlighted by a mixed performance during Q1 and indications of hope for the rest of 2023.

During the quarter, Biogen’s adjusted earnings per share (EPS) and total revenue declined, however, the company beat Wall Street profit estimates thanks to strong sales of Spinraza.

The company’s total revenue slid 3% year-over-year, while its non-GAAP diluted EPS fell 6%. Among its segments, MS product revenue declined 19%, spinal muscular atrophy revenue fell 6% and biosimilars revenue dropped 1%.

Notably, Biogen made key decisions regarding its research and development operations, discontinuing its development of BIIB132 in spinocerebellar ataxia type 3 and deprioritizing certain programs in stroke, gene therapy and ophthalmology.

Still, Biogen said it is making “strong progress” toward three potential launches in 2023 and heralded the momentum behind Leqembi, its Alzheimer’s drug that received accelerated approval from the Food and Drug Administration in January.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has held a firm line with its strict coverage limits on the drug, the Veterans Health Administration announced last month that it would cover Leqembi.

An FDA advisory committee meeting to review the drug is slated for June 9, while its PDUFA date is set for July 6. 

“In the first quarter, we continued to make strong progress against our business priorities, most importantly execution of three potential launches in 2023,” Biogen CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher said in a statement. “Biogen is at the forefront of groundbreaking science as demonstrated by our ability to help advance new surrogate biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease and ALS while also delivering breakthrough data to address tau pathology in Alzheimer’s. I believe these achievements represent Biogen at its best. We also continue to remain diligent in prioritizing our R&D pipeline, optimizing our operating model, and evaluating external opportunities as we work to establish a sustainable growth trajectory.”

Going forward, Biogen reaffirmed its full-year financial guidance, with total revenue in mid-single digit percentage decline versus the reported amount for full-year last year, while its non-GAAP diluted EPS is expected to be between $15 to $16. 

Biogen also released its financials the same day that the FDA is set to decide the fate of Tofersen, an investigational drug developed in conjunction with Ionis Pharmaceuticals to treat a rare genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Meanwhile, Novartis reported strong sales growth aided by its ongoing cost-cutting effort and raised its full-year financial outlook. 

Novartis reported that sales grew 3%, its core operating income increased 8% and its net income inched up 3%. The Swiss drugmaker reported a free cash flow of $2.7 billion and a core EPS of $1.71, up 17%. 

In light of the strong continued growth, Novartis raised its full-year guidance for group sales to mid-single digit growth and group core opinc to high single digit growth.

Novartis released its earnings one day after entering into an amended and restated licensing agreement with 3B Pharmaceuticals GmbH for its fibroblast activation protein (FAP)-targeting peptide technology.

“Novartis delivered strong growth to start 2023, driven by our in-market growth brands, in particular Entresto, Kisqali and Kesimpta. The Pluvicto and Scemblix launches continue on their strong trajectory, and the Leqvio launch is progressing steadily,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement. “In addition, we are driving R&D productivity by prioritizing high-value medicines across our five core therapeutic areas. Our pipeline momentum gives us confidence in our growth outlook, highlighted by the NATALEE Phase 3 positive readout for Kisqali in early breast cancer, and we look forward to upcoming readouts for iptacopan in multiple indications and Pluvicto in earlier lines of therapy. Our strong start to the year and confidence in our growth drivers allow us to raise guidance for the full year 2023.”

Of note, toward the end of the quarter, both Novartis and Biogen terminated collaboration and license agreements with Sangamo Therapeutics.