Positive figures despite insulin lag
Bagsværd – Net profit at Denmark’s Novo Nordisk A/S ballooned in the first six months of 2011, and the firm has raised guidance for the full year results. Sales rose by 9%, from DKK29.1bn to DKK31.7bn, while reported net profit increased by 19% to DKK 8.2bn (2010: DKK6.8bn). The company raised its 2011 sales growth outlook to 9-11% from 8-10%. It says operating profit growth is expected at 15-19%, compared with around 15% previously.
In spite of the positive news, the world’s biggest insulin producer acknowledged it is facing a slowdown in modern insulin sales, which in QII/2011 accounted for 43.6% of total group sales. Novo Nordisk CFO Jesper Brandgaard says he expects modern insulin sales growth to slow quarter by quarter from now on until a new product is launched. Slowing sales and fierce competition in the crucial sector leaves the drugmaker vulnerable to any delay in bringing new products to market. For the Danish firm, hope now rests on the novel ultralong-acting basal insulin analogues Degludec and DegludecPlus. “It is clear that Degludec, if given a strong labelling, could become a blockbuster,” Brandgaard said. He added that the company would be filing a registration application for the substance in the US in the not all-too-distant future.