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

Net profit climbed 15% to 4.66 billion Danish kroner (about $827.4 million), while sales were up 13% to 17.75 billion kroner. The firm's stable of modern insulin products, including Levemir (insulin detemir) and NovoRapid (insulin aspart) contributed 7.86 billion kroner, an increase of 17%.

Human insulins were up 2% to 2.72 billion kroner, while oral antidiabetic products, notably NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide), edged up 1% to 716 million kroner. As for Victoza (liraglutide), sales of Novo’s once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue reached 1.99 billion kroner, up 81%.

The Danish company said Victoza had 62% value market share in the GLP-1 segment in November 2011 compared to 39% a year earlier. Novo says this is impressive especially since Amylin's rival Bydureon (extended-release exenatide) has now been approved.

As for Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was down 6% to 1.90 billion kroner, while the growth hormone Norditropin increased 8% to 1.35 billion kroner.

The firm has raised its sales growth forecast for 2012 to 8%-11% from 7%-11% in local currencies, despite "continued intense competition", generics of its oral antidiabetic products and the impact from the implementation of healthcare reforms primarily in the USA and Europe.