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Buoyant pharma sales drive J&J's Q3 results

Defies downturn with European growth of 12 per cent
Johnson & Johnson headquarters

Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) third-quarter results read like a flashback to a time before the economic downturn, with a 9.9 per cent increase in pharma sales to $7bn.

The pharma unit saw strong sales both in established brands as well as newer products, with an encouraging 8 per cent increase in the US domestic business and international turnover up 14 per cent.  Europe enjoyed growth of more than 12 per cent despite the ongoing economic woes afflicting the Eurozone.

Overall group sales came in at $17.6bn - up 3 per cent on the same period of 2012 - with consumer healthcare flat at $3.6bn as J&J's McNeil division continues to rebuild after manufacturing quality lapses, and medical device/diagnostics sales down 2 per cent to $6.9bn.

The results are likely to lend weight to suggestions by some investors that J&J would benefit from separating pharma away from its poorer-performing sister units, although chief financial officer Dominic Caruso insisted the group benefits from a "broad base in healthcare".

"We believe we are best positioned by having a combined set of businesses," he told investors yesterday.

J&J's biggest-selling pharma product Remicade (infliximab) for arthritis continued to be the engine for pharma growth - with sales up 7.8 per cent to $1.69bn - although it is likely to come under pressure now that biosimilar competition is available in the EU.

Remicade follow-up Simponi (golimumab) rose 44 per cent to $266m in the quarter, and there were also strong gains for psoriasis drug Stelara (ustekinumab) - up 29 per cent to $370m - and antipsychotic Invega Sustenna (paliperidone) which grew 53 per cent to $324m.

J&J's oncology portfolio was also a highlight, with prostate cancer treatment Zytiga (abiraterone acetate) rocketing 75 per cent to $464m and myeloma therapy Velcade (bortezomib) adding another $4.4m, up 23 per cent, thanks to EU approval in previously-untreated adults.

On the downside, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) treatment Concerta (methylphenidate) continued to succumb to generic competition, losing $110m in sales compared to the third quarter of 2012 to come in at $142m.

"Our third-quarter results reflect the solid, demonstrable results in achieving our near-term priorities while also advancing our longer term strategic growth drivers," said J&J's chief executive Alex Gorsky.

The company also increased its earnings guidance for 2013 for the second time this year, saying it now believes it will make to $5.44-$5.49 per share, up from a $5.35-$5.45 range when it posted its second-quarter results.

Article by
Phil Taylor

16th October 2013

From: PME



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