Fri | Dec 3, 2021

J&J hikes 2021 profit forecast, COVID-19 vaccine sales grow

Published:Wednesday | October 20, 2021 | 12:07 AM
In this March 6, 2021 photo, boxes containing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sit next to vials in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution, in east Denver.
In this March 6, 2021 photo, boxes containing the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine sit next to vials in the pharmacy of National Jewish Hospital for distribution, in east Denver.

Johnson & Johnson is raising its 2021 profit forecast again after growing sales of the cancer treatment Darzalex and other drugs pushed it past Wall Street’s third-quarter earnings expectations.

The healthcare giant also said Tuesday that sales of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine started to pick up in the quarter, nearly doubling what it brought in during the first half of the year.

J&J now expects adjusted earnings to range between US$9.77 and US$9.82 per share this year. The company also tightened its expectation for operational sales, which exclude the impact of currency exchange rates, to US$92.8 billion to US$93.3 billion including vaccine sales.

Analysts forecast, on average, earnings of US$9.71 per share on US$94.36 billion in sales, according to FactSet.

Global sales of the multiple myeloma treatment Darzalex jumped 44% in the quarter to US$1.58 billion, which helped revenue from the company’s largest segment, pharmaceuticals, grow about 14% to nearly US$13 billion.

J&J also rang up US$502 million in sales from its COVID-19 vaccine in the third quarter after pulling in US$264 million during the first half of 2021.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company’s vaccine started slow earlier this year. Its roll-out was hurt by issues like manufacturing problems at a Baltimore factory and concerns about rare side effects from the shot, including a blood clot disorder.

But company leaders have said they expected sales to pick up in the second half of the year, and sales could be further spurred by booster shots.

Last Friday, US Food and Drug Administration advisers endorsed an extra shot of the vaccine like they did for other shots from rivals Pfizer and Moderna. The FDA will now decide whether to authorise the booster and then the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would rule on who should roll up their sleeves.

J&J has said it doesn’t intend to profit from its COVID-19 vaccine during the pandemic. It’s selling the vaccine for US$5 to US$8 per dose.

Outside of pharmaceuticals, sales from J&J’s medical device segment grew 8% to US$6.64 billion, while consumer health revenue rose 5% to US$3.7 billion.

The pandemic hurt sales for most of J&J’s products in last year’s third quarter.

Overall, J&J’s net income climbed 3% to US$3.67 billion in the third quarter. Adjusted earnings totalled US$2.60 per share while sales grew nearly 11% to US$23.34 billion.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of US$2.35 per share on US$23.64 billion in revenue.

AP