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

Net profit climbed 23% to 5.76 billion Danish kroner (about $1.05 billion), while sales were up 16% to 20.96 billion kroner. The firm's stable of modern insulin products, including Levemir (insulin detemir) and NovoRapid (insulin aspart) contributed 9.46 billion kroner, an increase of 20%.

Human insulins were up 8% to 3.00 billion kroner, while oral antidiabetic products, notably NovoNorm/Prandin (repaglinide), rose 3% to 670 million kroner. As for Victoza (liraglutide), sales of Novo’s once-daily human glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) analogue reached 2.70 billion kroner, up 29%.

As for Novo's biopharmaceuticals business, NovoSeven (recombinant Factor VIIa) was up 14% to 2.42 billion kroner, while the growth hormone Norditropin increased 9% to 1.46 billion kroner.

For 2013, Novo expects operating profits to grow about 10%, while sales should rise 8%-11%. The company is particularly enthusiastic about its ultra long-acting insulin degludec, to be marketed as Tresiba and Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart). Last week, the drugs were approved in Europe.