Novo Nordisk CEO Lars Sorensen told investors today that 2014 had been a more challenging year than most, then rolled off a series of results that showed significant leaps in sales both in the U.S. and worldwide. He then waved off any worries about a price war in the U.S. being a significant issue for the world's largest maker of insulin products this year.
Novo Nordisk has made diabetes-minded investors very happy today. Rather than following Sanofi's discouraging announcement of flat sales expectations in the field next year, the Danish drugmaker said it's expecting growth in the high single digits.
Over the next few days two new contenders for the heavyweight title for weight control drugs face critical regulatory hurdles. After a long and expensive repeat voyage through a late-stage safety study, Orexigen is slated to get the FDA's marketing decision on Contrave by Thursday. And on the same day Novo Nordisk will run through a gamut of questions at an FDA independent panel review of liraglutide 3 mg, with the pharma player betting that it can ultimately get a green light that will open up a new market for its drug that will be worth billions of dollars in added annual sales.
The executive team here at the rapidly expanding headquarters of Novo Nordisk doesn't pull many punches. CEO Lars Rebien S ø rensen is a competitive sort who tends to be blunt, aggressive and forward-thinking; projecting a confident attitude that is reflected by the rest of the execs and right down the line to 40,000 rank-and-file employees around the world.
On this list of the best-selling diabetes drugs, you will find a mix of the old and new. According to data from EvaluatePharma, one of the big dogs of big pharma data, these top 10 drugs had more than $28 billion in sales last year. All of them, even number 10, were blockbusters.
Combine the blockbuster GLP-1 drug Victoza with a long-acting insulin and you get a treatment greater than the sum of its parts, according to Novo Nordisk, which unveiled promising new data on its diabetes cocktail IDegLira.
While Victoza brought in more than $2 billion last year, it has been dogged by concerns that it raises the risk of pancreatitis--and despite it and other similar drugs being cleared by reviews by both the FDA and EU regulators this year, some keep pushing the FDA to consider pulling it off the market.
Eli Lilly is one step closer to launching its promising new diabetes drug dulaglutide--and one step closer to putting a crimp in Novo Nordisk's big-selling rival, Victoza.
Novo Nordisk has its sights set on Mexico. The Danish drugmaker has put that country next on its list to debut liraglutide in its new guise as a weight-loss drug.
Novo Nordisk, the world leader in insulin products, took a big hit this year when the FDA denied approval of its newest long-lasting insulin drug, Tresiba. But CEO Lars Rebien Sørensen is taking every opportunity to let the markets know that Novo has lots of growth in its business.