COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish drug maker Novo Nordisk A/S on Thursday said first-quarter net profit rose by 24 percent, boosted by strong sales of insulin. The world's top maker of insulin said Thursday that net profit in the first three months of 2009 was 2.7 billion kroner ($480 million), up from 2.2 billion kroner in the same period in 2008. Sales rose 18 percent to 12.5 billion kroner ($2.2 billion), from 10.6 billion kroner in the previous year. "We are satisfied with the financial performance during the first quarter of 2009 which is driven by solid sales growth for the modern insulin and gross margin improvements," chief executive Lars Rebien Soerensen said. Novo Nordisk shares rose 3 percent to 270.50 kroner ($48.12) in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen-based company has about 27,000 employees in 81 countries.