Novo expects slowdown in modern insulins

Novo Nordisk is feeling threatened in the modern insulins market. And Eli Lilly's sales reps may bear part of the blame. The Danish diabetes-drug expert posted some strong sales numbers--and raised its full-year forecast for both revenues and profits. But its modern insulins fell short of analyst estimates with sales of 6.97 billion crowns ($1.32 billion), compared with the 7.30 billion crown ($1.39 billion) forecast, Reuters reports.

And CFO Jesper Brandgaard is expecting growth in sales of its newer insulins to slow down. At least, until the company can get its latest drugs to market. "All else equal, when you launch a new product you will have a fall in growth rates quarter by quarter, and the only way we can get growth going again is by launching a new product," Brandgaard told Reuters. "We hope that degludec and degludec plus will come in and create new growth for our insulins in the United States."

So far, Novo's sales of modern insulins are growing, with 3% growth for the quarter. But the success of Sanofi's competing drug Lantus could eat into that growth. And Lilly is threatening sales, too, Alm Brand Markets analyst Michael Jorgensen told the news service. "Eli Lilly has really significantly strengthened its insulin sales force and that puts pressure on Novo."

- read the Reuters news