Novartis lifted its guidance on profit and sales growth for 2024 following a strong financial performance in Q1.

The Swiss pharma giant saw net sales grow 10% year-over-year to $11.8 billion, its operating income increased 29% to $3.3 billion and its net income jumped 25% to $2.7 billion, according to its latest quarterly earnings report released Tuesday morning. 

Novartis’ core operating income rose 16% to $4.5 billion, its earnings per share jumped 28% to $1.31 and its core EPS increased 17% to $1.80. 

Some of the top growth drivers for the company included Entresto, which generated $1.8 billion in sales, Cosentyx, which generated $1.3 billion, as well as Kesimpta and Kisqali, which brought in more than $620 million each. 

Both Entresto and Cosentyx supported the performance of the company’s emerging growth markets, which rose 21% at constant currencies and hit $1 billion in sales in China.

In light of the top line growth, Novartis raised its full-year guidance. 

Now, the company expects net sales to grow by high-single to low double-digits while its core operating income is expected to grow by low double-digits to mid-teens.

“Novartis continued our strong momentum with both sales growth and core margin expansion in Q1,” Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan said in a statement. “Our performance was broad-based, across all key growth brands and geographies, allowing us to raise guidance for the full year 2024. We continued to advance our pipeline in Q1, with submission-enabling data for Scemblix first-line, Pluvicto pre-taxane and remibrutinib in CSU. The momentum in our business and pipeline gives us continued confidence in our mid- and long-term growth outlook.”

Narasimhan has been well compensated for his leadership of the drugmaker through a host of changes, receiving $15.3 million in total compensation last year, up 21% from 2022.

In recent months, he led Novartis through the spinoff of generic drugs manufacturer Sandoz as well as an ongoing $1.5 billion cost-cutting initiative.

The company also embarked on a dealmaking spree to kick off 2024, signing a strategic collaboration and capsid license agreement with Voyager Therapeutics that could total $1.3 billion as well as scooping up Calypso Biotech with an upfront payment of $250 million and German cancer biotech MorphoSys AG for $2.9 billion.

Shortly before releasing its latest earnings, Novartis signed a licensing and asset-sale agreement with clinical-stage biotech Arvinas that is potentially worth more than $1 billion.

However, despite media reports indicating interest in Cytokinetics, Novartis reportedly dropped out of contention for the promising cardiovascular biotech.

On the regulatory side, Novartis received an approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Xolair to to reduce severe allergic reactions across multiple food allergies. The company also nabbed a priority review for Fabhalta (iptacopan) to treat adult patients with IgA nephropathy.

Additionally, the earnings were released a couple of weeks after Novartis announced plans to shrink its global development team by up to 680 roles over the next two years. The drugmaker also temporarily paused enrollment of early breast cancer patients into clinical trials for Kisqali.

Novartis is also cognizant of the increasing scrutiny on Chinese biotechs from congressional leaders, with its CFO Harry Kirsch telling the media on Tuesday morning that the drugmaker is “actively managing” its existing relationships with Chinese service providers.