UPDATE 3-Novo Nordisk hits high as FDA clears diabetes drug

* Company says sees U.S. Victoza price matching rival Byetta

* Reiterates sees Victoza sales over $1 bln in first 5 years

* Analysts say approval paves way for other same-class drugs

* Shares hit record high, outperform wider market

(Adds details, updates share price)

COPENHAGEN, Jan 26 (BestGrowthStock) – Shares in Novo Nordisk
(NOVOb.CO: ) leapt to an all-time high on Tuesday after U.S.
regulators approved its type 2 diabetes drug Victoza, which has
the potential to be a blockbuster for the Danish drugmaker.

The drug, which was approved in Europe last year, had faced
delays in the United States after an FDA advisory panel raised
questions about the medicine’s safety.

Novo Nordisk, which plans to launch Victoza in the United
States within weeks, said on Tuesday the price of the drug would
match that of Eli Lilly’s (LLY.N: ) and Amylin Pharmaceuticals
Inc’s (AMLN.O: ) rival drug Byetta.

North America has the world’s highest prevalence of
diabetes, with more than 10 percent of the adult population
affected.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Victoza for
treatment of type 2 diabetes late on Monday. [ID:nN25208489]

Shares in Novo Nordisk, the world’s biggest insulin maker
jumped nearly 7 percent to a record high of 371.60 crowns on the
news. But the stock pared gains to 3.6 percent at 360 by 1542
GMT — still outpacing the DJ Stoxx European healthcare sector
index (.SXDP: ) which was up 1.4 percent.

“Novo got Victoza approved in the United States with one
small restriction concerning information to patients on risks,
but that doesn’t alter the fact that great earnings are on the
way,” Amagerbanken said in a research note to clients.

“The pricing, I think, for our 1.2 milligramme product
(daily dose) will be equal or similar to that of Byetta, 10
microgrammes, which is $8 per day,” Chief Executive Officer Lars
Rebien Sorensen told analysts and journalists in a conference
call on Tuesday.

“We repeat our expectation that Victoza has potential for
being a blockbuster within the first five years of the launch,
that is, sales of more than $1 billion,” Novo Chief Science
Officer Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen told the conference.

Victoza and Byetta belong to the GLP-1 class of drugs that
stimulate insulin release when glucose levels become too high.
Other GLP-1 drugs are being developed by rival drugmakers, such
as GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: ) and Roche (ROG.VX: ) and Ipsen
(IPN.PA: ).

Jefferies analysts in London said the approval would pave
the way in the United States for the other drugs in the same
class.

“This approval removes much of the uncertainty around the
GLP-1 class in the U.S.,” they said in a note.

“We continue to believe that Roche/Ipsen’s taspoglutide has
the potential to best-in-class.”

Shares in Ipsen rose 3.9 percent by 1542 GMT.

For Novo itself Jefferies analysts were less bullish, saying
they thought the market was still looking “for unrealistically
high peak sales for Victoza given the boxed warning for cancer
and once-daily injection profile”.

The FDA said Novo Nordisk must evaluate the risks of thyroid
and other cancer risks.

Piper Jaffray & Co analysts, too, said that the upside for
Novo Nordisk shares was limited by the labelling restrictions
and that the stock price already factors in Victoza.

Victoza, also known as liraglutide, has been launched in
Germany, Britain and Denmark, with other markets such as Japan
set to follow this year. [ID:nLDE60J0BR]

Novo releases its fourth-quarter earnings on Feb. 2.

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(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom, additional reporting by Kate
Kelland in London; Editing by Louise Heavens and Rupert
Winchester)

UPDATE 3-Novo Nordisk hits high as FDA clears diabetes drug