Novo Nordisk A/S : Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk upbeat on gross sales for 2021

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COPENHAGEN, February 3rd (Reuters). Diabetes drug maker Novo Nordisk released positive sales and earnings guidance for 2021 on Wednesday after releasing expected fourth quarter results.

Novo Nordisk, the world’s largest manufacturer of diabetes drugs, said that by the end of 2020, more patients would have started using its diabetes drugs while existing patients were using drugs they had in stock at the start of the pandemic.

The company anticipated sales and operating profit growth in local currencies of 5% to 9% and 4 to 8%, respectively, in 2021.

However, headwinds in the currency are expected to negatively impact both sales and earnings by 4 to 6 percentage points when expressed in Danish kroner.

Growth was driven by the GLP-1 drugs Ozempic and Rybelsus, which mimick an intestinal hormone that stimulates insulin production.

“The financial results reflect sales growth in both our international operations and our North American operations, driven by more patients with our GLP-1 treatments,” said Lars Fruergaard, chief executive, in a statement.

Operating profit for the period from October to December decreased 6% year over year to 11.2 billion Danish kroner (1.81 billion US dollars), as forecast by analysts.

Novo’s sales in the fourth quarter were 32.1 billion crowns, compared with an average of 31.8 billion that analysts expected.

Novo also said its chief scientist Mads Krogsgaard will retire later this month and be replaced by Marcus Schindler. ($ 1 = 6.1773 Danish kroner) (Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; Editing by Kim Coghill)