Johnson & Johnson forecasts $2.5B of coronavirus vaccine sales

Outlook trails those of rivals Moderna and Pfizer

Johnson & Johnson said it will sell $2.5 billion worth of its COVID-19 vaccine this year and pushed back against concerns over its effectiveness against the delta variant. 

The New Brunswick, N.J.-based drugmaker’s annual outlook for its single-shot vaccine lags behind those of rivals Moderna Inc. and Pfizer Inc., who project sales of $19.2 billion and $26 billion, respectively, for their two-shot doses. J&J’s vaccine received emergency-use authorization about two months after those from Pfizer and Moderna.  

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JNJ JOHNSON & JOHNSON 171.68 -0.13 -0.08%
MRNA MODERNA, INC. 328.45 -7.42 -2.21%
PFE PFIZER INC. 41.88 +0.12 +0.30%

Johnson & Johnson has battled production issues and concerns over the safety of its vaccine. More than 75 million doses were discarded due to a manufacturing error. Distribution of the vaccine was temporarily paused after some recipients reported rare blood clots. 

The latest worries emerged when a paper published by New York University’s Grossman School of Medicine on Tuesday, which has not been peer reviewed, found that Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine was minimally effective against the delta variant. The scientists suggested recipients should receive a second dose.

Johnson & Johnson CFO Joseph Wolk pushed back against the findings in an interview with CNBC on Wednesday. 

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"It's probably best for everyone to defer to health officials, who have not yet recommended a booster, even for some less-duration vaccines out there, at this point, who have really the benefit of all the data, before we make any conclusions about when or if boosters are needed," Wolk said. 

Johnson & Johnson’s second-quarter results exceeded Wall Street estimates. 

The company reported sales surged 27.1% year over year to $23.31 billion, topping the $22.21 billion that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. 

J&J’s pharmaceutical business, which produces the vaccine, generated $12.59 billion in sales, up 17.2% year over year. The unit accounted for 54% of the company’s quarterly revenue. 

Meanwhile, the medical devices unit reported sales spiked 62.7% to $6.98 billion as patients received procedures that were delayed due to COVID-19. The consumer health division, which includes skin and beauty products, saw sales increase 13.3% to $3.74 billion. 

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Net earnings were $6.278 billion, or an adjusted $2.48 per share. Analysts had expected adjusted earnings of $2.27 per share. 

Johnson & Johnson shares were up 7.03% year to date through Tuesday, compared with the S&P 500’s 15% gain.