UPDATE 2-Novo Nordisk Q3 tops consensus, ups 2010 guidance

* Q3 EBIT 5.12 bln DKK, above consensus of 4.74 bln

* Modern insulins, Victoza sales boost earnings

* Increases share buyback programme by 1 bln DKK

* Shares rise 1 pct

(Adds detail, background, analyst comment, share reaction)

By Anna Ringstrom and Shida Chayesteh

COPENHAGEN, Oct 27 (BestGrowthStock) – Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk
(NOVOb.CO: ) beat third-quarter profit (Read more your timing to make a profit.) expectations and raised its
guidance, boosted by rising sales of its modern insulins and its
newest big diabetes drug hope, Victoza.

The world’s biggest insulin maker, which has outperformed
rivals so far this year, upped its 2010 guidance to a rise of
more than 15 percent in underlying operating profit, and an 11
to 12 percent rise in sales measured in local currencies.

It raised its outlook based on double-digit sales growth for
NovoRapid and Levemir insulins and Victoza. Its previous view,
from August, had been for a 12 to 15 percent profit growth and 9
to 10 percent sales growth in local currencies. [ID:nLDE67407E]

Novo guided for slightly slower sales and profit increases
next year — close to 10 percent sales growth and 10 to 15
percent operating profit growth in local currencies.

The 2011 sales guidance roughly matched analysts’ average
views, while the profit guidance is higher than estimates in a
Reuters poll of analysts before the results. [ID:nLDE69K1H9]

Novo Nordisk shares have risen 40 percent since mid-2009
chiefly on expected rising sales of potential blockbuster
Victoza, and confidence it will remain the market leader in
insulin treatments as expanding waistlines fuel a global
epidemic of type-2 diabetes.

Chief Financial Officer Jesper Brandgaard told Reuters he
expects Victoza to become a blockbuster drug, with sales above
$1 billion, as soon as 2012, instead of within five years of its
recent launch.

Novo raised its 2010 share buyback plan by 1 billion crowns
to 9.5 billion following the sale of its stake in biotech
ZymoGenetics in September, as flagged earlier. [ID:nLDE6870WG]

Third-quarter operating profit rose 34 percent to 5.12
billion Danish crowns ($958 million), above a mean forecast in
the Reuters poll for a 24 percent rise.

Analysts said the report looked strong overall, with higher
Victoza sales a positive surprise.

“It’s a pretty good report in terms of numbers on all key
drugs. Modern insulins only beat consensus slightly but Victoza
is doing very well,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Tim Race.

VICTOZA ON TRACK

Sales of Victoza, a new type of natural insulin-stimulating
diabetes drug which Novo started rolling out last year, grew to
700 million crowns, nearly double the average expectation.

Novo said Victoza sales reflected solid market performance
in Europe and the United States. It added that Victoza’s global
launch is according to plan, its recent launch in Japan is
encouraging, and formal regulatory feedback on its China
application for the drug should come in the second half of 2011.

The near future for Victoza, which is seen as a high-margin
product, brightened further last week when U.S. authorities
unexpectedly turned down Bydureon, a potential rival from Amylin
Pharmaceuticals (AMLN.O: ) and Eli Lilly (LLY.N: ), probably
delaying it 18 months. [ID:nLDE69J075]

Although analysts expect Novo to keep flourishing in the
near term, there are expectations of cut-price competition to
its insulins in a few years, following patent expiries.

The threat from so-called biosimilar insulins crystallised
last week when the world’s biggest drugmaker Pfizer (PFE.N: ) said
it had agreed to sell versions of insulin being developed by
India’s Biocon (BION.BO: ), sending Novo’s shares tumbling.
[ID:nLDE69I0ZK] [ID:nSGE69H0I8]

Modern insulin sales, nearly half of turnover, grew 27
percent in the quarter, just topping expectations.

Novo’s next big sales driver hope is its ultra long-acting
experimental Degludec insulin, which is in late-stage trials,
and Novo presented some new trial results in the report.

Analysts at Collins Stewart said those results were “mixed”
and that they remain sceptical towards the candidate drug.

Novo’s shares rose 1.1 percent by 0853 GMT, outperforming a
flat STOXX 600 European healthcare index (.SXDP: ). Since
mid-2009, Novo’s shares are up more than 40 percent compared
with a 26 percent rise in the index (.SXDP: ).
(Additional reporting by Copenhagen newsroom; Editing by David
Holmes and Louise Heavens)
($1=5.344 Danish Crown)

UPDATE 2-Novo Nordisk Q3 tops consensus, ups 2010 guidance