And it's actually growing, with more than a dozen blockbuster drugs scheduled to go on sale in the next few years, writes MoneyShow's Jim Jubak, also of Jubak's Picks.
In that post, I wrote that even though the drug sector was about to put the worst of its cascade of patent expirations behind it, a big fat pipeline full of lots of potential blockbusters was still a key attribute for a drug stock.
In 2011, the company forecast that its pipeline would deliver seven blockbuster drugs by 2017. This year, Novartis raised its target to 14 blockbusters by 2017. (The pipeline looks like more than enough to offset the erosion on Glivec, which will lose patent protection in stages through 2023.)
Blockbuster candidates include cancer drugs Afinitor and Jakavi (for breast cancer), the Q-family of respiratory drugs (including QVA, Seebri, and Onbrez), Gilenya for MS, and Galvus for diabetes.
Novartis has one of the most cost-effective drug research operations in the industry. The company spends about $4 billion per new molecular entity, versus the industry average of $5 billion.
I'm setting a target price of $71 a share by October 2013. The stock pays a 3.93% dividend yield.
Full disclosure: I don't own shares of any of the companies mentioned in this post in my personal portfolio. The mutual fund I manage, Jubak Global Equity Fund , may or may not now own positions in any stock mentioned in this post. The fund did not own shares of Novartis as of the end of September. For a full list of the stocks in the fund as of the end of September see the fund's portfolio here.