J&J Expects Drug Sales to Pick Up -- WSJ

By Jonathan D. Rockoff and Anne Steele Features Dow Jones Newswires

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of WSJ.com articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (July 19, 2017).

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Johnson & Johnson raised its sales and profit outlook for the year even as the health-care giant's second-quarter pharmaceutical revenue declined amid steeper competition for some of its key drugs.

Chief Executive Alex Gorsky said the company expects sales and earnings to accelerate in the second half of the year, as J&J incorporates two key acquisitions and launches new products.

The New Brunswick, N.J., company now expects adjusted earnings for the year of $7.12 to $7.22 a share, up from $7 to $7.15. And it expects sales of $75.8 billion to $76.1 billion, up from $75.4 billion to $76.1 billion.

J&J is the world's largest health-products company and its sales are considered a bellwether for the industry.

The company has been reshaping its pharmaceutical, medical-device and consumer-health businesses to adapt to patent expiries, pricing pressures and changing consumer preferences.

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J&J's results have also been pressured by a stronger U.S. dollar and weakness in some emerging markets.

Rheumatoid-arthritis drug Remicade, long the company's top-selling product, has begun facing competition from lower-cost "biosimilar" rivals that analysts expect will erode sales.

Remicade sales dropped 14% in the second quarter to $1.53 billion world-wide. Finance Chief Dominic Caruso said sales have held up well against a biosimilar from Pfizer Inc., and that most of the drop was due to a tough comparison in the previous year's quarter, when J&J recorded a positive gain for rebates on Remicade and other drugs.

J&J attributed a $342 million drop in its pharmaceutical sales in the quarter to the same positive gain last year.

Sales of diabetes drug Invokana, another key J&J product, plunged 23% to $295 million in the quarter. And sales of prostate-cancer treatment Zytiga dropped 7.2% to $558 million as a federal probe of charities that help patients pay for drugs chilled financial support to help patients cover their out of pocket costs.

Last month, J&J closed its largest deal ever, a $30 billion acquisition of Swiss drug company Actelion. Mr. Gorsky said J&J sees "great opportunities" to increase sales of Actelion drugs by expanding their use to more patients and around the world.

J&J closed in February on its $4.3 billion purchase of Abbott Laboratories' eye-surgery equipment business.

Analysts estimate newly-approved psoriasis drug Tremfya could reach $6.4 billion in yearly sales world-wide, according to Evaluate, a market-intelligence firm. A new rheumatoid-arthritis drug, sirukumab, is estimated to notch $5.5 billion in world-wide sales if approved.

Over all revenue in J&J's pharmaceutical business, the company's largest, edged 0.2% lower to $8.64 billion, hurt by foreign-currency challenges. J&J's medical-devices business recorded a 4.9% increase in sales to $6.73 billion. Consumer-health sales grew 1.7% to $3.48 billion.

In all for the quarter, J&J earned $3.83 billion, or $1.40 a share, down from $4 billion, or $1.43 a share, in the same period a year before.

Revenue rose 1.9% to $18.84 billion.

Excluding certain items, adjusted earnings were $1.83 a share. Analysts had expected $1.80 in adjusted per-share profit on revenue of $18.95 billion.

Write to Jonathan D. Rockoff at Jonathan.Rockoff@wsj.com and Anne Steele at Anne.Steele@wsj.com

Corrections & Amplifications Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceutical revenue declined in the second quarter. Earlier versions of this article incorrectly stated that second-quarter revenue declined. (July 18, 2017)

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 19, 2017 02:48 ET (06:48 GMT)