Victoza Spearheads Strong Performance for Novo Nordisk in H1
Danish drug company Novo Nordisk saw its sales shoot up by 21.7% year-on-year (y/y) to reach 19.47 billion Danish kroner (USD3.22 billion) in the second quarter. Its star performer was the GLP-1 agonist Victoza, while its modern insulins continued to perform well.
IHS Global Insight Perspective
Novo Nordisk's sales over the first half reached 37.22 billion Danish kroner, corresponding to a year-on-year growth rate of 17.4%. Net income was up by 22.0% to DKK10.01 billion.
The company's growth was fuelled by a stellar performance from its GLP-1 agonist Victoza (liraglutide), while its modern insulins also continued to grow well.
Novo Nordisk's performance was beyond expectations, and has allowed the company to increase its forecasts for the end of the year. In local-currency terms, its year-end sales are now forecast to rise by around 9–12%, while its operating profit is expected to rise by approximately 15%.
The strong gains made in the second quarter meant Novo Nordisk's sales over the first half reached DKK37.22 billion, corresponding to a year-on-year (y/y) growth rate of 17.4%. The company's other main indicators were also impressive, with operating income increasing by 31.4% y/y to DKK14.04 billion in the first half and net income growing by 22.0% to DKK10.01 billion over the same period.
The high growth rates were partly attributable to favourable exchange-rate fluctuations, but in local currency terms, first half sales still increased by a more-than-respectable 12% and operating profits were up by 21%.
Novo Nordisk, 2012 Financial Results for Q2 and H1, DKK Mil.
% Change Y/Y
% Change Y/Y
Costs of Goods Sold
Sales and Distribution Expenses
Licence Fees and Other Income
Group Operating Income
R&D As % of Total Sales
1.3 pp lower
1.0 pp lower
6.4 pp higher
4.0 pp higher
Group Net Income
Source: Novo Nordisk
The majority of Novo Nordisk's sales were derived from its diabetes care segment, which grew by 21% y/y (or 15% in local currency) to reach DKK28.88 billion. The company noted that its share of the global diabetes care market now stands at 25%, compared with 24% a year ago.
Growth in North America was particularly strong, with combined sales of modern insulins, human insulins and protein-related products increasing by 27% (or by 18% in local currency). Growth in this region was driven by the performance of NovoLog, Levemir, and NovoLog Mix 70/30, but this was partly offset by a decline in human insulin sales.
Although Novo Nordisk's global sales of modern insulins were up by a combined 20% to DKK16.48 billion, its most dynamic individual product was Victoza (liraglutide), sales of which rocketed by 82% to DKK4.28 billion. The company noted that the product's global roll-out is continuing, with 53 countries having launched it by the end of June, and more than 10 countries preparing to launch it in the second half of the year.
Novo Nordisk, Sales By Market Segment, H1 2012
Sales, H1 2012, DKK Mil.
% Change Y/Y (reported)
Diabetes Care segment, total
Oral antidiabetic products
Biopharmaceutical segment, total
Source: Novo Nordisk
Novo Nordisk also revealed promising results of its DUAL I Phase IIIa clinical trial with IDegLira, which is a fixed ratio combination of Tresiba (insulin degludec) and Victoza. The second Phase IIIa trial, DUAL II, is due to be completed towards the end of 2012.
Outlook and Implications
Victoza's dynamic performance has been all the more impressive in light of the potentially strong competition from a rival GLP-1 agonist, United States firm Amylin's Bydureon (exenatide extended release). Novo Nordisk commented, however, that in countries outside the US, Bydureon's impact on Victoza's sales has been "marginal".
The performance of Victoza helped Novo Nordisk exceed expectations in the first half, and has allowed the company to increase its forecasts for the end of the year. It is now forecasting that, in local currency terms, its year-end sales will rise by around 9–12%, compared with its previous growth forecast of 8–11%. Meanwhile, the company has raised its operating profit forecast to a growth rate of approximately 15%, compared with its previous forecast of at least 10% (see Denmark: 27 April 2012: Novo Nordisk Achieves Strong Q1 with Sales Up 13%).
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