The New Brunswick, N.J.–based pharma, medical device and consumer products giant reported profits of $1.7 billion, or 65¢ per share, on sales of $22.5 billion for the three months ended Dec. 29, 2020, for a bottom-line decline of –56.7% on sales growth of 8.3% compared with Q4 2019.
Adjusted to exclude one-time items, earnings per share were $1.86, 4¢ ahead of The Street, where analysts were looking EPS of $1.82 on sales of $21.7 billion.
CEO Alex Gorsky said in a news release that the company is leading in the fight against COVID-19.
“We continue to progress our COVID-19 vaccine candidate and look forward to sharing details from our Phase 3 study soon,” Gorsky said. “Johnson & Johnson was built for times like these, and I am extremely confident in our ability to deliver lasting value and continued innovation in 2021 and for years to come.”
CFO Joseph Wolk told CNBC that vaccine study results will be available early next week, with the company on track to provide the U.S. with 100 million doses by the end of June.
J&J expects to log adjusted earnings per share of $9.40–$9.60 this year, a 17.1%–19.6% increase over 2020, with sales growth of 9.5%–11.0% bringing in $90.5–$91.7 billion in revenue. Wall Street analysts on average had predicted earnings per share of $8.99 off $89 billion in 2021.
Investors reacted by sending JNJ shares up 2.6% to $1.70 apiece today in morning trading. MassDevice‘s MedTech 100 Index, which includes stocks of the world’s largest medical device companies, was down slightly.
Pharma business sales were up 16.3% year-over-year, to $12.3 billion, in Q4, driving overall growth. Overall U.S. drug sales fell in the same period. Revenue-driving drugs — highlighted during today’s earnings call — treated diseases ranging from Crohn’s disease to cancer to hypertension:
- Stelara (ustekinumab), a biologic for the treatment of a number of immune-mediated inflammatory diseases such as Crohn’s disease, was up 30.3%;
- Darzalex (daratumumab), for the treatment of multiple myeloma, grew 49%;
- Imbruvica, an oral, once-daily therapy approved for treating a certain type of blood or lymph node cancer, was up 25.3%;
- Erleada (apalutamide), a next-generation androgen receptor inhibitor for treating prostate cancer, saw strong growth momentum;
- Tremfya (guselkumab), a biologic for the treatment of adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, and for adults with active psoriatic arthritis, grew 39.3%;
- Invega Sustenna/Xeplion/Invega Trinza/Trevicta (paliperidone palmitate), long-acting, injectable atypical antipsychotics for the treatment of adult schizophrenia;
- Opsumit (macitentan), an oral endothelin receptor antagonist to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and delay disease progression, was up 36.7%;
- Uptravi (selexipag), an oral prostacyclin receptor agonist to treat pulmonary arterial hypertension and reduce hospitalization, grew 44.1%.
Medical device sales ticked down –0.7% year-over-year, to $6.6 billion, in Q4 as the pandemic continues to cause hospitals as well as patients to defer medical procedures. Wolk during his talk with CNBC predicted a big Q2 for J&J’s medical device business.
The company’s DePuy Synthes ortho business last week announced FDA clearance for Velys, a robotic-assisted system designed for use with the Attune total knee system — part of J&J’s strategy to more actively compete against Stryker and its popular Mako ortho surgery robots.
“This is a market that … we think has a significant opportunity for growth in terms of penetration. We also think it will be a nice complement to our Attune fixed bearing cementless knee. And remember, we also have plans to expand Velys significantly beyond just knee replacement but to other areas as well,” Gorsky said during today’s earnings call.
J&J unveiled its next-generation Ottava soft tissue robotic surgery system in November. Gorsky told analysts: “We truly think it’s going to offer a next-generation digital and robotic surgery.”