Premium pricing for Novo's Tresiba in EU, a tiny bit of good news

Novo plots pricing strategy for EMA-approved Tresiba--courtesy of Novo Nordisk

It is little compensation for being shut out of the U.S. market with its best new product, but Novo Nordisk ($NVO) said it will price Tresiba at a premium in Europe, where the product is facing off against market leader Lantus.

Jakob Riis, who leads marketing at the Danish drugmaker, told Reuters today that it has already gotten approval to price Tresiba at a 60% to 70% premium to Lantus in the U.K. and expects a similar pricing for it in Europe, where negotiations are ongoing. "The prices in Europe will be more or less at the same level (as in the U.K.)," he said. He did not say what exactly Tresiba would be priced at, but Riis said that U.K. regulators agreed to the higher cost because of advantages they believe Tresiba holds over rivals.

They have obviously been more impressed than the FDA, which this week told Novo it wanted more tests on the insulin's heart risks before it will consider approving it. That pushes back any launch here to at least 2015, if it happens at all. That was a major blow to Novo, undercutting its future earnings picture. Peak sales had previously been forecast at $3.5 billion by 2025 for Tresiba, which had been seen as possible challenger to Sanofi's ($SNY) market-dominant Lantus. Of course the development was great news for Sanofi. Lantus is its best-selling product. It racked up almost €5 billion ($6.7 billion) in sales last year, and while it will face Tresiba in Europe, its position in the biggest insulin market is safe for at least several years.

Novo still has its launch in the U.K., Europe and Japan to look forward to. It plans to roll out Tresiba in the U.K. and Denmark in the first half of 2013 and is preparing for a launch in the rest of Europe in the second half.

- read the Reuters story

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