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J&J’s third quarter: The good and the bad

Published on 18/10/17 at 08:27am

It was a mixed bag for Johnson & Johnson on its announcement of third quarter results. It could largely be broken down into two areas: in the short-term, good, and in the long-term, not so much.

To begin with the good news, it posted that its revenues had risen by 10%, up to $19.7 billion. This beat analysts’ expectation by around 5%, with the pharmaceutical business performing better than expected with 15% growth.

This success was driven by Janssen, particularly the acquisition of Actelion, with the $30 billion takeover having completed at the beginning of the year paying off thus far. In particular, worldwide sales of Darzalex, acquired as part of the deal, had risen by 94.5% on the previous year’s results to take its third quarter sales to $317 million.

“Johnson & Johnson accelerated growth in the third quarter.  This is driven by the strong performance of our Pharmaceutical business, and augmented by Actelion and other recent acquisitions across the enterprise that will continue to fuel growth,” said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our dedicated colleagues continue to focus on advancing our pipelines to bring innovative solutions to patients and consumers around the globe.”

However, the major point of worry comes when looking to the future. The company announced that two treatments, previously pegged as blockbusters, would now be scrapped. The decision to terminate the development of sirukumab comes as no surprise, after it was rejected by the FDA.

The company explained the reason behind the decision as being dependent on providing new data for the drug. At this point, it would be too little, too late – with other drugs in the IL-6 market already approved, it would have been next to impossible to make a dent in the area.

Other than this, J&J also announced the failure of talacotuzumab, a treatment for acute myeloid leukaemia, that had been billed as a potential blockbuster. The reasons for the drugs failure at Phase 3 was pinned down to simply not being as effective as expected.

Ben Hargreaves

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