COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk A/S on Thursday said fourth-quarter profits more than doubled on strong sales of insulin and other diabetes drugs as well as one-time costs a year earlier. The world’s top maker of insulin said net profit in the last three months of 2008 rose 138 percent to 2.3 billion kroner ($409 million), up from 977 million kroner in the same period in 2007. Quarterly sales rose 15 percent to 12.6 billion kroner from 10.9 billion kroner in the previous year. Sales in North America increased 24 percent, boosted by a rebate reversal related to a federal health care program and wholesalers building up stocks, Novo Nordisk said. However, the main reason for the higher net profit was that Novo Nordisk took a 1.3 billion kroner hit in the fourth quarter of 2007 from scrapping an inhaled insulin project, chief financial officer Jesper Brandgaard told The Associated Press. Brandgaard also said “a positive currency effect” helped this year’s results.Novo Nordisk shares rose 5.5 percent to 299 kroner ($53.13) in Copenhagen. Full-year net profit increased 13 percent to 9.6 billion kroner, while sales rose 11 percent to 45.5 billion kroner. “We are satisfied with the solid business results achieved in 2008 driven by the continued penetration of our modern insulins in all key markets,” chief executive Lars Rebien Soerensen said. He said Novo Nordisk expects double-digit growth in sales and operating profit this year despite the economic downturn. The Copenhagen-based company has about 26,500 employees in 80 countries.