Jimenez counts on 7 drugs to take Novartis past Diovan

Maybe it's the rarefied Davos air or the long-range mountain views, but Novartis ($NVS) CEO Joe Jimenez is feeling optimistic about the post-Diovan future. After the Swiss drugmaker loses patent protection on the blood-pressure blockbuster later this year, other products will actually fill the gap, he told Barron's at the World Economic Forum.

And he's not even talking up yet-to-be-approved drug candidates, but meds that are already on the market. Seven Novartis drugs have blockbuster potential, Jimenez says, including the diabetes drug Galvus, with $700 million in 2011, and the cancer treatment Tasigna, which grew about 40% for the year.

"These are drugs that we launched two or three years ago and continue to grow at 30%, 40%, 50% a year," he told the business weekly. "These are the drugs that have enabled me to say sales for '12 [are] in line with '11, despite the fact that we have $2.5 billion of generic erosion."

Back to that long view. Jimenez sees an upswing past that Diovan loss: "Once we are out from under that in about six quarters, the company should return to growth," he said.

- read the Barron's piece

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