Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk has raised its earnings forecasts for 2005 after reporting double-digit gains in profits in the third quarter, driven by strong sales gains for its insulin analogue products.

The company reported a 20% rise in operating profit to $1.04 billion dollars for the first nine months of the year, while sales climbed 15% to $3.96 billion. The primary reason for the sales increase was a 54% hike in sales of insulin analogs, notably Levemir (insulin detemir), a long-acting insulin which has been rolling out in Europe [[20/06/05f]]. Novo Nordisk now claims to have captured 40% of the market for insulin analogs, up from just 7% in 2000.

Novo Nordisk now expects sales growth for the full year of 2005 to be 13-%15%, with operating profit growth of 12%-15%.

The company’s NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) product, approved for haemostasis management in haemophilia, also had a good quarter, with sales up 22% to $212 million. It has just been filed in Europe for the treatment of haemorrhagic strokes, and Novo Nordisk has just announced that will bundle patients from an ongoing Phase III trial in trauma patients in the USA into a single, global study.

The global trauma study is now expected to include 1,500 patients and to take close to four years to complete, said the firm. Analysts at Credit Suisse First Boston suggested this was a setback for the project, which as it would hold back approval in this indication for five years, a full two years longer than originally hoped.