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J&J earnings leap on buoyant pharma sales

CEO Alex Gorsky praises "outstanding" pharmaceutical performance

Johnson and Johnson J&J Simponi golimumab
Simponi, one of the medicines that underpinned strong results from J&J

Johnson & Johnson set the year-end results season off on a positive note, posting healthy gains in fourth-quarter and 2013 net earnings on the back of strong gains for its pharmaceuticals division.

J&J posted net earnings up 37 per cent to $3.5bn on sales up 4.5 per cent to $18.4bn in the fourth quarter, while for the full-year it earned $13.8bn on turnover up 6.1 per cent to $71.3bn.

Chief executive Alex Gorsky said the key drivers were the "outstanding performance" of pharma and a "nice uptick" in its consumer health division as J&J continued to restore reliable supplies after a period of manufacturing compliance issues.

Shares in J&J dipped despite the solid figures, however, as investors fixated on 2014 earnings guidance which came in a little lighter than expected.

Immunological therapies Remicade (infliximab) and Simponi (golimumab) underpinned the pharma division's revenues in 2013, which rose 10.9 per cent overall to $28.1bn.

Top seller Remicade put in a predictably solid showing, rising nearly 9 per cent to $6.67bn, while Simponi narrowly missed blockbuster status in the year despite growing more than 53 per cent to $932m.

Meanwhile, psoriasis therapy Stelara (ustekinumab) put in a stellar performance - up 47 per cent to $1.5bn with growth particularly robust outside the US - which was just about matched by long-acting schizophrenia therapy Invega Sustenna/Xeplion (paliperidone) which climbed 57 per cent to $1.25bn.

On the downside, generic competition continued to take its toll on older drugs such as gastrointestinal Aciphex/Pariet (rabeprazole) and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder drug Concerta (methylphenidate).

J&J's new batch of products also did well, with prostate cancer therapy Zytiga (abiraterone) spearheading a 37 per cent gain for J&J's oncology business, although supply constraints continued to hold back Doxil/Caelyx (liposomal doxorubicin).

New diabetes drug Invokana (canagliflozin) was also off to a good start, backed by recent launches for mantle cell lymphoma therapy Imbruvica (ibrutinib) and hepatitis C drug Olysio (simeprevir), said Gorsky.

J&J's pharma division is "the fastest growing of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the US, Europe and Japan", Gorsky told investors yesterday, thanks to a total of 13 new products launched since 2009.

J&J also intends to file more than 10 new molecular entities (NMEs) for approval between 2013 and 2017, as well as 25 or more line extensions for currently-marketed products, he added.

Article by
Phil Taylor

22nd January 2014

From: Sales

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