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Novo hikes forecasts on hopes for new drug
February 01, 2013
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COPENHAGEN: The world’s biggest insulin producer Novo Nordisk has raised sales and profit forecasts for 2013 on hopes its new Tresiba drug will soon win approval in the United States and add further momentum to surging profits.

The Danish firm said on Thursday it expected 2013 sales growth in local currencies of between 8 and 11 per cent and operating profit growth of around 10 per cent. Its previous guidance had been for single-digit growth in each.

It also posted 2012 net profit up 23 per cent to 5.80 billion crowns, the highest in the company’s history.

On Tresiba, chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said: “I have the anticipation that this will be a multi-billion dollar blockbuster drug.”

Tresiba has already been approved in Europe and Japan but there had been concern about its future in the US market after regulators there said last November that its key component degludec had a higher heart safety risk than other diabetes treatments.

However an advisory panel to the US Food and Drug Administration subsequently voted to recommend approval of degludec, despite the signals of possible cardiovascular risk.

“For Tresiba, we have a good portion of sales included in our guidance, but the largest part of that is from the United States,” Sorensen said.

“Whether we will be able to launch in the second quarter or it is deferred to the third quarter has some implications on the top line of the company,” Sorensen said.

Any setback for Tresiba, would be good news for rival Sanofi, whose Lantus product currently dominates the long-acting insulin market and had 2011 sales of around $5 billion.

Reuters

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