(Bloomberg) -- Novartis AG reported first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ estimates even after losing patent protection on its best-selling cancer medicine Gleevec.

Profit fell to $1.17 a share, excluding some items, the Basel, Switzerland-based company said Thursday in a statement. Analysts estimated $1.15, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Sales declined 3 percent to $11.6 billion, missing analysts’ average projection.

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