Drug: NovoLog FlexPen
Company: Novo Nordisk
Total spend Q1, 2012: $26.4 million
Total spend Q1, 2011: $1.4 million
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While not quite in the blockbuster category, the NovoLog FlexPen still raked in about $755 million in U.S. sales for Novo Nordisk ($NVO), according to drugs.com. And in the first quarter, it generated about $227 million, a 9% increase. The FlexPen, which allows users to dial in doses, and use short needles for injection, is a big step up from taking insulin with a hypodermic needle. Still the holy grail is oral insulin. And Novo Nordisk says it's willing to bet $2 billion in R&D that it can score a megablockbuster success in the field. Until then, its patent for the FlexPen is protected for a couple more years and the company says making a biosimilar of its product is no easy deal, so it may be safe for some time.