Gross margin improved by 1.0 percentage point in local currencies and by 0.4 percentage points in Danish kroner to 80.3% in the first quarter of 2010, reflecting continued productivity improvements, higher average selling prices in the US, favourable product mix development and a negative currency impact of around 0.6 percentage points.
Net profit increased by 23% to DKK 3,324 million. Earnings per share (diluted) increased by 27% to DKK 5.61.
Following the approval of Victoza® in the US on 25 January 2010, the product was launched in February 2010. The initial performance in the US, as measured by prescription level data, is encouraging. The European launch continues to progress as expected, with Victoza® now launched in 14 countries including France.
The largest clinical trial programme in the history of insulin therapy, the phase 3 programmes BEGIN(TM) and BOOST(TM) for the next generation of modern insulin analogues, Degludec and DegludecPlus, involving 10,000 patients in 43 countries, is progressing according to plan with more than three quarters of the patients enrolled.
For 2010, sales growth measured in local currencies is now expected to be in the range of 7-10%, and operating profit measured in local currencies is now expected to increase by more than 10%.
Lars Rebien SÃ¸rensen, president and CEO: "We are encouraged by the solid business performance in the first quarter of 2010. The increasing use of our modern insulins is the primary driver of growth. Furthermore, the roll-out of Victoza®, our new treatment for type 2 diabetes, is progressing well in both the US and Europe."
Headquartered in Denmark, Novo Nordisk is a global healthcare company with 87 years of innovation and leadership in diabetes care. The company also has leading positions within haemophilia care, growth hormone therapy and hormone replacement therapy. For more information, visit novonordisk.com.