Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk has posted an 11% increase in operating profit for the first nine months to 7.82 billion kroner (around $1.52 billion), with sales climbing 9% to 30.89 billion kroner.

Growth was driven by Novo's diabetes division, where turnover rose 11% to 22.49 billion kroner, with the firm's stable of modern insulin products making up 10.01 billion kroner of the total, an increase of 31% on the year before. Sales of oral antidiabetic products, notably NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide) increased 11% to 1.64 billion kroner, boosted by an increased market share in China and higher average sales prices in the US market.

Among the major products in Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, sales of which climbed 5% to 8.40 billion kroner, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was up 4% to 4.35 billion kroner, while growth hormone product sales, including Norditropin, went up 7% to 2.59 billion kroner.

The results were in line with analysts’ expectations and Novo said that for the full year it expects sales to grow 6%-9% and operating profits to climb 10%. For 2008, turnover and operating profit should rise also rise 10%, “despite the present currency exchange rate environment for especially the US dollar”, the company said. This estimates are based on “continued solid penetration of the portfolio of modern insulins” as well as progress for key products within biopharmaceuticals, but also “an expectation of continued intense competition within the diabetes care area”, Novo concluded.