Novo Nordisk backs annual guidance as Q3 sales, profit edge up

Headline results for the third quarter:

  • Revenue: DKK 30.9 billion ($4.8 billion; forecasts of DKK 30.8 billion), up 2%
  • Profit: DKK 10.3 billion ($1.6 billion; forecasts of DKK 10.4 billion), up 1%

Note: All changes are versus the prior-year period unless otherwise stated

What the company said:

"We are very satisfied with the performance in the first nine months of 2020 despite the negative impacts from COVID-19," remarked CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen, adding "more patients use our GLP-1 treatments, and our diabetes market leadership continues to expand."

Other results:     

  • Diabetes segment: DKK 25 billion ($3.9 billion), up 4%, driven by growth of GLP-1 products
    • Ozempic: DKK 5.4 billion ($847 million), up 82% at constant exchange rates (CER), with sales of the therapy, which has now launched in 48 countries, climbing 69% in the US to DKK 4.3 billion ($674 million)
    • Victoza: DKK 4.8 billion ($753 million), down 7% at CER, declining 15% in the US to DKK 2.9 billion ($455 million)
    • Tresiba: DKK 2.1 billion ($329 million), down 4% at CER, falling 30% in the US to DKK 887 million ($139 million)
    • Levemir: DKK 1.3 billion ($204 million), down 33% at CER, with sales plunging 58% in the US to DKK 422 million ($66 million)
  • Saxenda: DKK 1.3 billion ($204 million), down 7%
  • Biopharmaceuticals: DKK 4.6 billion ($721 million), down 5%
    • NovoSeven: DKK 1.7 billion ($267 million), down 11% at CER, with lower sales in North America and the Rest of World segment, partly reflecting reduced elective surgeries and bleedings due to COVID-19

Looking ahead:

Novo Nordisk reaffirmed that as announced earlier in October, it expects both sales and operating profit for 2020 to grow between 5% and 8% on a CER basis.

Fruergaard said that while fewer patients with diabetes had initiated treatment this year, a "gradual recovery" had taken place during the third quarter. "We assume that will continue into the fourth quarter, but the guidance range reflects that we live in very volatile times. We don't know how the winter season will evolve," the executive noted.

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