Novo Nordisk ups forecasts after Q1 profit boost

After an indifferent period Novo Nordisk has kicked off 2021 on the front foot, raising its financial forecast after posting better than expected Q1 earnings and sales.

The world’s biggest manufacturer of diabetes drugs expects growth in constant currencies at between 6% and 10%, up from the previous forecast in the 5%-9% range.

Operating profit is expected to be in constant currencies in the 5% to 9% range, up from the previous estimate of 4%-8%.

Net sales in Q1 were 33.8 billion Danish kroner ($5.45 billion), an increase of 7% in constant currencies but flat as reported compared with the same period last year.

Operating profit was up 3% in constant currencies but down 8% to 14.98 billion Danish kroner ($2.42bn).

However net profit was up 6% to 12.6 billion DKK ($2.04 billion), with CEO Lars Fruergaard Jorgensen noting that sales growth was driven by all therapy areas globally.

Growth has also accelerated in the US, he said.

He added: “The solid financial performance in the first three months of 2021 has enabled us to raise our outlook range for the full year.”

In the US, sales measured in dollars increased 6%, although this represented a decrease in 3% when converted into Danish kroner.

Despite the CEO’s upbeat message the company noted COVID-19 stocking is dragging on sales growth although this is partially offset by inventory changes and timing of shipments in 2021.

The company hopes to add to sales in the longer term with an oral 50mg formulation of its GLP-1 drug semaglutide to treat obesity.

Novo is also working towards a refiling of its label expansion for a new 2mg formulation of once weekly Ozempic (semaglutide) to treat type 2 diabetes.

The company aims to refile in the second quarter after the FDA rebuffed the application earlier this year, asking for more manufacturing data.

Novo hopes the new formulation will help see of a challenge from Eli Lilly’s forthcoming rival tirzepatide and its already-marketed GLP-1 Trulicity (dulaglutide).

 

 

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