Novo Nordisk's Q4 results top estimates

Headline results for the fourth quarter:

  • Revenue: DKK 32.1 billion ($5.2 billion; forecasts of DKK 31.9 billion), down 1%
  • Profit: DKK 9.3 billion ($1.5 billion; forecasts of DKK 9.1 billion), up 7%

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

What the company said:

"The financial results reflect sales growth in both international operations and North America operations driven by more patients using our GLP-1 treatments," remarked CEO Lars Fruergaard Jørgensen.

Novo Nordisk noted that chief scientific officer (CSO) Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen will retire at the end of February, to be replaced by Marcus Schindler, who has been promoted to CSO and executive vice president (EVP) for research and early development, and Martin Holst Lange, who has been promoted to EVP for development.

Other results:    

  • Diabetes segment: DKK 26.4 billion ($4.3 billion), up 2%, driven by the growth of GLP-1 products, while revenue from insulin was hit by declining sales in the US
    • Ozempic: DKK 6.2 billion ($1 billion), up 51% at constant exchange rates (CER)
    • Victoza: DKK 4.8 billion ($775 million), down 7% at CER
    • Tresiba: DKK 2.2 billion ($355 million), up 3% at CER
    • Levemir: DKK 2.2 billion ($355 million), up 3% at CER
  • Saxenda: DKK 1.4 billion ($226 million), down 11%, with fewer patient starts stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Biopharmaceuticals: DKK 4.4 billion ($711 million), down 14%
    • NovoSeven: DKK 1.5 billion ($242 million), down 17%, with falling sales in most regions
  • Full-year revenue: DKK 126.9 billion ($20.5 billion), up 4%
  • Full-year profit: DKK 42.1 billion ($6.8 billion), up 8%

Looking ahead:

Novo Nordisk expects sales this year to grow between 5% and 9% on a CER basis, with operating profit increasing in the range of 4% to 8%. The company explained that "continued pricing pressure within diabetes care, especially in the US, is expected to negatively impact sales development."

For related analysis, see ViewPoints: Rybelsus rebound sums up a strong end to 2020 for Novo Nordisk.

Pipeline updates:

Novo Nordisk said that recruitment of patients in ongoing clinical studies "is still below pre-COVID-19 levels," although the company added that some new trials have been initiated.

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