Danish insulin maker Novo Nordisk has unveiled plans to grow its salesforce for diabetes care from 1,200 to about 1,900 people in the US in the first half of next year, representing an increase of nearly 60%, from around 1,200 to approximately 1,900 people, to help it gain a stronger foothold in the all-important US diabetes market.

The group’s slice of the US insulin market is already substantial, but further growth is being held back by new competitors in the arena, such as Merck & Co's novel DPP-4 inhibitor Januvia (sitagliptin phosphate) and Pfizer's inhalable insulin Exubera.

According to Novo Nordisk, the expanded field power will support its portfolio of modern insulins in the region, making it possible to access more primary care physicians, as well as increase the number of visits to both primary care physicians and endocrinologists. In addition, the move will "prepare our organisation for future launches of additional innovative diabetes products that we currently have in clinical development," remarked Martin Soeters, President of the firm.

The expansion does not change the company’s financial outlook for 2006, or its preliminary guidance for next year, group stressed.