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Novartis AG

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Novartis’ fourth-quarter 2016 results were mixed with the company beating earnings estimates but missing on revenues. Concurrently, Novartis announced that it is mulling strategic options for Alcon which includes retaining the business or separation via a capital markets transaction such as a spin-off or an initial public offering. Given its dismal performance Alcon seems to be a laggard for quite some time now. The company’s shares have declined more sharply than the Large-Cap Pharmaceutical industry in the last one year. On a positive note, Cosentyx hit $1.1 billion in sales in 2016 thereby becoming a blockbuster drug for Novartis while Entresto is picking up gradually following the positive treatment guidelines in the U.S and Europe and ongoing field force expansion. The oncology portfolio (excluding Gleevec) also looks solid, driven by new assets and Jakavi. We are also impressed by the strong biosimilars portfolio.

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