Novo Nordisk has posted another healthy set of figures, helped by sales of new diabetes drug Victoza, although it has lowered its outlook for this year due to the threat of patent expiries.

Net profit for 2010 climbed 34% to 14.40 billion kroner (about $2.66 billion), while sales were up 19% to 60.78 billion kroner. The firm's stable of modern insulin products, including Levemir (insulin detemir) and NovoRapid (insulin aspart) contributed 26.60 billion kroner, an increase of 24%.

Human insulins were up 5% to 11.83 billion kroner, while oral antidiabetic products, notably NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide), rose 4% to 2.75 billion kroner. Among the major products in Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, sales of which climbed 11% to 15.07 billion kroner, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was up 14% to 8.03 billion kroner, while the growth hormone Norditropin increased 9% to 4.80 billion kroner.

As for Victoza (liraglutide), sales of Novo’s once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue reached 2.32 billion kroner. The company said this reflects solid market performance in both Europe and the USA, and global launches continued throughout the year. Chief executive Lars Rebien Sorensen said he expects growth to continue for Victoza and the firm's modern insulins through the year "and we are encouraged by the results from the Phase III programme with our new-generation insulins".

However, analysts were slightly disappointed with Novo's guidance for 2011. The Danish drugmaker expects sales growth in 2011 of 8%-10%, down from earlier estimates of up to 12%, hit by "continued intense competition, generic competition to oral antidiabetic products, and an impact from the implementation of healthcare reforms primarily in the USA and Europe".