Novartis second-quarter profit rose 17 percent to $2.3 billion over the same period last year on strong Diovan sales and the effects of cost-cutting measures. The results beat analysts' expectations of $2.14 billion for the quarter.

Second-quarter pharmaceutical sales rose 14 percent to $6.9 billion. Diovan sales increased 22 percent to $1.5 billion, while revenue for Gleevec grew 26 percent to $942 million, compared with year-ago figures. The drugmaker noted that recently launched products, including Aclasta, Lucentis and Tekturna, had revenue of $700 million in the quarter. The company's vaccines and diagnostics division posted a sales increase of 28 percent to $322 million, on a US government tender for its avian influenza product and higher deliveries of polio injections. Overall, Novartis reported revenue up 14 percent over the prior-year quarter, to $10.7 billion.

Looking ahead, the company reported that it anticipates its pharmaceutical sales will increase in the "high-single-digit rate" in local currencies by the fourth quarter. In pipeline news, Novartis said its Afinitor oncology treatment and meningococcal meningitis vaccine Menveo are "on track" for regulatory filings in 2008. The drugmaker also indicated it anticipates submitting multiple sclerosis drug FTY720 for marketing authorisation in 2009.