Company news: Novo Nordisk, Merck, Remedy Health and HealthiNation

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Novo Nordisk's new portfolio of diabetes treatments propelled a 22% increase in sales for the quarter ended June 30, reaching $3.2 billion, compared to $2.6 billion for the same period last year, the company said. Profit for the quarter jumped 29%, to $882 million, compared to $682 million for the same period last year. North American sales of its three modern insulins -- NovoRapid, NovoMix and Levemir -- powered growth for the half-year mark, as did an 82% boost in sales of injectable med Victoza, to $707.4 million. The company said it retained its 50% hold on the total insulin market (including modern and human insulins), and that, as of May, it controlled 46% of the market for modern insulins (Victoza commanded 65% of the GLP-1 market, vs. 47% in May 2011). The Danish company raised its financial guidance for the year, saying it now expects sales to grow between 9% and 12%, compared to its initial projections of growth between 8% and 11%. Also mentioned: on November 8, ultra-long acting insulin Tresiba (insulin degludec) and Ryzodeg (insulin degludec/insulin aspart) are slated to be reviewed by an FDA advisory panel.

Citing “business reasons,” Merck has decided to put its cholesterol medication, MK-0524B, on hold, reported Dow Jones. The news service said the detail was part of the company's quarterly report, and means a proposed review by the FDA in 2014 is most likely history. The experimental treatment would combine the statin simvastatin with niacin and a drug designed to reduce niacin-induced flushing, laropiprant. As Dow Jones noted, a single-pill combination of niacin and laropiprant is available outside the US as Tredaptive, and plans are still in place to file Tredaptive (MK-0524A) to the FDA in 2013, pending results of the HPS2-Thrive trial. In addition, the Improve-It trial involving cholesterol drug Vytorin is being delayed a year to 2014. A 2011 government study found niacin didn't boost a statin's ability to fight cholesterol.

Health information company Remedy Health Media will integrate content from health and lifestyle video provider HealthiNation, firms say. The partnership calls for the original content to be featured throughout Remedy's owned and operated sites. Advertisers can take advantage of multi-platform distribution. Remedy, which bought health information site Health Central last year, offers content online, at the point-of-care and on mobile devices. HealthiNation's syndicated video distribution reaches consumers online, on cable VOD, TV set-top players, and on doctors' office televisions.

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