* Pharmaceutical drug sales jump 9.2 pct
* U.S. Remicade sales rise 9.4 pct
(Adds analyst comments, updates shares)
By Ransdell Pierson
Oct 18 Booming pharmaceutical sales drove strong
quarterly results for Johnson & Johnson, but the
company's shares fell more than 2 percent on worries that its
blockbuster Remicade arthritis drug would soon face cheaper
Pfizer Inc late on Monday said it would begin U.S.
shipments of Inflectra, its biosimilar form of Remicade, by late
November at a 15 percent discount to J&J's current wholesale
With annual U.S. sales of about $5 billion and its wide use
to also treat Crohn's disease and psoriasis, Remicade is J&J's
Biosimilar drugs are close copies intended to provide
savings compared with costly branded products. Inflectra is
already available in Europe.
J&J is appealing an August federal court decision that
invalidated a U.S. Remicade patent, setting the stage for a
February court battle with Pfizer. Should Pfizer launch
Inflectra and later lose the court fight, that could entitle J&J
to triple damages.
In the meantime, analysts predicted U.S. Remicade sales will
fall 15 to 20 percent next year, even though J&J on Tuesday
predicted the vast majority of patients taking Remicade are
unlikely to switch to a biosimilar.
"There's fear what happens to Remicade," said Guggenheim
Securities analyst Tony Butler. "It will lose some market
But Edward Jones analyst Ashtyn Evans predicted J&J's annual
pharmaceutical sales will grow in the "high single digit"
percentage range over the next 3 to 5 years, despite Remicade's
decline, as newer drugs for inflammatory conditions and cancer
continue post strong sales.
J&J shares fell 2.6 percent to $115.43 in afternoon trade.
In the third quarter, J&J revenue rose to $17.82 billion
from $17.10 billion a year earlier.
Its pharmaceutical sales jumped 9.2 percent to $8.40
billion, with strong growth for its new Imbruvica and Darzalex
cancer drugs and its blood thinner Xarelto. U.S. sales of
Remicade jumped 9.4 percent to $1.22 billion.
Global medical device sales rose 1.1 percent to $6.16
billion in the quarter, while consumer product sales fell 1.6
percent to $3.26 billion.
J&J raised the lower end of its full-year 2016 profit
forecast to $6.68 per share from $6.63 a share. It retained the
upper end at $6.73 per share.
The company's net earnings rose to $4.27 billion, or $1.53
per share, in the third quarter, from $3.36 billion, or $1.20
per share, a year earlier.
Excluding special items, J&J earned $1.68 per share, topping
the average analyst forecast of $1.66 per share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
(Additional reporting by Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing
by Sriraj Kalluvila and W Simon)