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Novo Nordisk posts 'robust' gains in sales and earnings

Diabetes drug Victoza and insulin analogue portfolio see strong growth

Novo Nordisk headquarters 

Danish pharma company Novo Nordisk had a sprightly third quarter with sales and profits on the up thanks to strong growth for diabetes drug Victoza and its portfolio of insulin analogues.

Third-quarter operating profit surged 40 per cent to 1.06bn kroner ($174m) on revenues up 20 per cent to 19.5bn kroner, causing the company to raise its earnings forecast for the year.

A good showing in the US and Europe helped Victoza (liraglutide) continue its upwards trajectory with a 62 per cent climb to 336m kroner. The global roll-out of the drug is continuing, with launches in 57 countries worldwide by the end of September.

Novo's chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said that Victoza was growing market share among drugs in the GLP-1 analogue class, despite the launch of Amylin and Alkermes' rival drug Bydureon (exenatide) in the US earlier this year.

Meanwhile, Novo's portfolio of insulin analogues - NovoRapid (insulin aspart) and Levemir (insulin detemir) - added 1.19bn kroner to the company's coffers, up 23 per cent on the same period of 2011.

The company reported top-line growth across the board for its products, with older products such as human insulins rising 4 per cent to 375m kroner and haemophilia drug NovoSeven adding 5 per cent to 290m kroner, though it was down slightly in local currency terms because of austerity measures in Europe

Growth hormone Norditropin (somatropin) also had a good quarter, with sales up 14 per cent to 195m kroner.

News of the positive figures helped Novo Nordisk shrug off some of the hangover from its announcement last week that a US FDA advisory panel will be convened later this month to discuss its marketing application for new-generation insulin Tresiba (insulin degludec) and combination product Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart). 

Documents released ahead of the meeting indicated the panel will look at the cardiovascular risks associated with the products as well as their claimed benefits in reducing the risk of hypoglycaemia episodes compared to older insulins, prompting a dip Novo's share price.

European regulatory advisors recommended Tresiba for approval last month, putting it on track to become the first higher-strength insulin licensed in the region, and it has already been approved in Japan.

2nd November 2012

From: Sales

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