Novo Nordisk has posted another healthy set of figures for the third quarter, helped by strong sales of diabetes drug Victoza and its modern insulins.

Net profit climbed 35% to 5.67 billion Danish kroner (about $984.9 million), while sales were up 20% to 19.85 billion kroner. The firm's stable of modern insulin products, including Levemir (insulin detemir) and NovoRapid (insulin aspart) contributed 8.88 billion kroner, an increase of 23%.

Human insulins were up 4% to 2.79 billion kroner, while oral antidiabetic products, notably NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide), climbed 28% to 719 million kroner. As for Victoza (liraglutide), sales of Novo’s once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue reached 2.50 billion kroner, up 62%.

As for Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was up 5% to 2.15 billion kroner, while the growth hormone Norditropin increased 14% to 1.45 billion kroner. The firm has raised its sales growth forecast for 2012 to 10%-12% from 9%-12% in local currencies, while operating profit growth is expected to be 16%-18%, up from a previous forecast of 15%.

For 2013, Novo expects operating profits and sales growth in high-single digits, noting that the outlook includes sales of its ultra long-acting insulin degludec, to be marketed as Tresiba. The latter has been approved in Japan and received a positive opinion in Europe but the road to approval in the USA could be trickier.

The Food and Drug Administration will hold an advisory panel meeting on November 8 to look at Tresiba and Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart). Last week, the company noted that the meeting will focus on the cardiovascular safety of the drugs.