Novo Nordisk raises full-year guidance again as US sales of Wegovy, Ozempic fly

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Novo Nordisk on Friday raised its outlook for its full-year sales and operating profit for the third time this year, reflecting strong demand for its weight-loss drug Wegovy and diabetes medication Ozempic in the United States.

Novo’s shares jumped more than 5% to a record-high on the news, but pared gains to trade 2.5% higher at 1422 GMT.

The Danish drugmaker said it now expects sales growth this year between 32% and 38%, from a previous forecast of 27%-33%.

It raised its full-year outlook for growth in earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) to 40-46% from the previous 31-37% range.

Novo became Europe’s most valuable company this year on soaring demand for weekly injection Wegovy and its lower-dose version Ozempic.

The new sales outlook for this year primarily reflects higher expectations for profits related to sales of Ozempic and Wegovy in the United States.

Analysts from Barclays and Jeffries said separately that Novo’s upgraded guidance ahead of third-quarter results came as a surprise, particularly because prescription growth in the United States of Wegovy is currently constrained by the company’s supply restrictions. Novo in August extended its U.S. supply curbs on Wegovy, saying they would last most likely into 2024.

The Copenhagen-based company, which also raised its outlook in April and August, had initially forecast both sales and operating profit to grow by 13%-19% this year.

Sales grew 33% in the first nine months of the year and 38% in the third quarter, it said. Operating profit grew 37% between January and September, with 47% growth in the third quarter.

The company is due to disclose full quarterly numbers on Nov. 2.

(Reporting by Louise Breusch Rasmussen and Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen; additional reporting by Maggie Fick in London; editing by Terje Solsvik, Susan Fenton and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)