Novartis, GSK, Lilly offer mixed bag of Q3 earnings

Third-quarter earnings season is in full swing, with several Big Pharma--and not-so-big-yet-still-key pharma--reporting numbers over the past 24 hours. Here's the latest.

  • Novartis posted increases in both profits and sales--10 percent and 13 percent, respectively--but the company warned of ongoing pricing pressures from global healthcare reforms. The acquisition of 77 percent of Alcon was a major push toward revenues of $12.58 billion; strong sales of the cancer drug Gleevec, diabetes remedy Galvus, and its new generic competitor for Sanofi-Aventis' Lovenox also helped. Novartis release | Report | Report

  • Cost-cutting boosted Eli Lilly's profits by 38 percent to $1.3 billion, or $1.18 per share, beating Wall Street estimates. But its $5.65 billion in sales missed expectations, and analysts said they're worried by impending generic competition for Lilly's top-selling drugs. "Overall, a reasonable quarter for the company, yet for many investors, it is the longer-term financial outlook that matters more and here, Lilly still looks challenged," Sanford Bernstein's Tim Anderson says in a note to investors (as quoted by Reuters). Eli Lilly release | ReportReport

  • GlaxoSmithKline's earnings slipped 1 percent in the third quarter, but still beat analyst estimates; sales, however, weren't up to par. Profits were hit by the cost of writing off stocks of the recently restricted diabetes drug Avandia and by increased generic competition for its herpes drug Valtrex. "Once these year-over-year pressures subside, we expect GSK to become a growth stock," UBS' Gbola Amusa tells BloombergGSK's report | Report | Report

  • Baxter reported a 12 percent increase in profit, after last year's one-time charges; the company posted $595 million in profits on sales of $3.22 billion. The biggest growth segment: its medication-delivery operations, which grew 5.3 percent. Baxter release | Report | Report

  • Genzyme earnings ratcheted upward significantly as supplies of its drugs for rare diseases get back to normal after a plant shutdown last year. Profits grew to $69 million, or 26 cents per share, on sales of $1 billion. Sales of its Cerezyme drug for Gaucher disease beat analyst estimates, but Fabrazyme revenues fell short. Genzyme release | Report | Report