FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Novartis reported a 6 percent rise in fourth-quarter adjusted net profit on Wednesday, driven by cost cuts and strong growth in newly launched drugs, but still below expectations.

Adjusted net profit for the quarter amounted to $3.13 billion (2.9 billion euros), the pharmaceutical group said in a statement, below analysts’ estimates of around 3. $3 billion, according to LSEG data.

The Swiss group also updated its medium-term forecasts, and expects organic sales growth of 5% per year until 2028, after adjusting for currency fluctuations. Previous outlooks already anticipated this pace of growth until 2027.

Chief Executive Vas Narasimhan led a plan to cut jobs and focus on fewer therapeutic areas and geographies before spinning off generic drug company Sandoz to list on the stock exchange at the end of 2023.

The split results in a greater reliance on innovation in Novartis’ core business, subjecting Vas Narasimhan to more pressure from investors.

The chief executive scored an important milestone last year with a positive study into the Kisqali treatment for breast cancer.

Fourth-quarter revenue growth was driven by better-than-expected performance of heart failure drug Entresto, multiple sclerosis drug Kesimpta and Kisqali.

However, revenues from Pluvicto, a precision radiotherapy for prostate cancer, and the Zolgensma gene therapy for spinal muscular atrophy fell short of market expectations.

(Reporting Ludwig Burger; Stéphanie Hamel, edited by Blandine Hénault)

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