In 2015, Novartis completed a portfolio transformation to focus on three leading divisions, strengthen our pharmaceuticals operation, and leverage our new services organization to improve productivity and profitability. We also achieved important milestones in developing our pipeline and enhancing access to healthcare. We believe these steps position us well to navigate the challenging healthcare environment and sustainably grow sales, profits and dividends.
Our strategic focus on science-based innovation continues to generate strong results. We launched a series of new products, including breakthrough therapies such as heart failure medicine Entresto and psoriasis treatment Cosentyx. The effectiveness of our products gives us the confidence to explore pay-for-performance pricing models, which can offer economic benefits to healthcare systems and build trust with our customers.
At the same time, we broadened our research and development pipeline, particularly in the areas of immuno-oncology and neuroscience. Experimental compounds in both areas have the potential to change the practice of medicine, and we are striving to be among the leaders in the fields of oncology and neurology. We appointed a new President of the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research, who will start in early 2016, and we continue to attract leading scientists. This will reinforce our own research efforts, as well as our collaborations with other research institutions.
As the healthcare landscape evolves, we will continue to work with technology leaders. For example, we have entered into partnerships to investigate new opportunities in the realm of gene editing and at the intersection of information technology and healthcare. These research areas may transform aspects of healthcare and disrupt conventional business models. We are prepared to embrace and benefit from these changes.
As a healthcare leader, we also have a responsibility to help improve access to medicines and healthcare for patients around the world. As part of our long-standing corporate responsibility activities, last year we launched the Novartis Access portfolio. It is designed to provide affordable, high-quality medicines to address the rising burden of noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes and breast cancer in developing countries. Besides delivering needed medicines, this social business model aims to support healthcare systems and help manage the rising cost of care and its economic consequences.
Additionally, we continue to evolve our corporate governance and are dedicated to enhancing interactions with our stakeholders. The Board of Directors is fully committed to this task. We aim to reinforce our diversity and safeguard our independence in the interest of Novartis and our shareholders. This will help us be a trusted healthcare partner guided by integrity and open to dialogue and collaboration.
All of these efforts make us confident that we can continue to strengthen our market position in 2016.
I thank you for the confidence you have placed in our company and am pleased to be able to propose a dividend increase of 4% to CHF 2.70 at the next Annual General Meeting.
Joerg Reinhardt Chairman of the Board of Directors