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Sector Wrap: Diabetes drug makers

NEW YORK -- A Jefferies & Co. analyst said Thursday that sales of diabetes drugs should keep growing at a strong clip for the rest of the decade, reaching $65 billion a year in 2020.

Analyst Jeffrey Holford said he expects sales of the treatments to grow at a rate of about 10 percent per year, which means total revenue will more than double from about $30 billion now to $65 billion in 2020.

He said revenue will keep rising, because of factors including the aging population in the West, while in emerging markets, diabetes and obesity are increasing and access to health care is also growing. Other factors include higher drug prices, strong patent protection for key products, and new treatments.

"Novo Nordisk will continue to dominate this market in our view," Holford wrote. He said Eli Lilly and Co. should surpass France's Sanofi as the second-largest diabetes drug seller.

Holford added that the market for long-lasting insulin drugs should triple in value to $19 billion by 2020.

U.S.-traded shares of Novo Nordisk AS lost $1.11 to $159.83 Thursday.

Eli Lilly shares picked up 37 cents to $50.60, while U.S.-traded shares of Sanofi stock added 20 cents to $42.95.

Shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. declined 31 cents to $32.95, while GlaxoSmithKline PLC slid 30 cents to $45.73.