Johnson and Johnson expects COVID-19 vaccine data next week

Johnson and Johnson expects COVID-19 vaccine data next week
Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said it expected to report eagerly awaited data on its COVID-19 vaccine early next week, and that it would be able to meet the delivery target for doses to countries with which it had signed supply agreements.

Public health officials are increasingly counting on single-dose options like the one being tested by J&J to simplify and boost inoculations given the complications and slower-than-hoped rollout of authorized vaccines from Pfizer Inc and Moderna Inc, which require second shots weeks after the first.

The company forecast 2021 profit well above Wall Street estimates, and its shares rose 3.4% to US$171.55.

The outlook does not include any contribution from the COVID-19 vaccine, Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said.

Wolk added that pricing of the vaccine would depend on the number of doses secured by countries and organizations.

"We will let the science play out. Once we have the data, obtain regulatory authorization and finalize agreements to supply, we will provide financial updates as warranted," he said on a conference call.

The U.S. health-care conglomerate said its medical device unit continued to recover despite the recent surge in COVID-19. The division was hit hard earlier in the pandemic by a decrease in elective and non-urgent procedures like hip and knee replacement as people avoided care or hospitals were forced to suspend such procedures.

Fourth-quarter sales in the unit fell marginally to $6.59 billion.

Adjusted profit of $1.86 per share beat estimates of $1.82 per share, helped by double-digit sales growth of Crohn s disease drug Stelara and cancer treatment Darzalex.

Stelara sales grew 32% to $2.44 billion, while sales of Darzalex jumped nearly 60% to $1.25 billion.

J&J forecast 2021 adjusted profit of between $9.40 and $9.60 per share, compared with analysts estimates of $8.99 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
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