Johnson & Johnson maintains 2021 sales forecast for COVID-19 vaccine

Reported $502mln in sales of the single-dose shot

  

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday raised its annual adjusted profit forecast, but stuck to its COVID-19 vaccine sales target of $2.5 billion as it works through production challenges that have resulted in delays.

The drugmaker had earlier this year faced quality problems at a Baltimore manufacturing facility that produces the single-dose vaccine, resulting in wastage of millions of doses.

The vaccine has the lowest uptake in the United States at a time when rivals Moderna Inc and Pfizer are signing up supply deals for booster doses in 2022 and beyond.

The J&J shot, once touted an as important tool for vaccinating hard-to-reach areas, is behind its schedule for deliveries in the United States and Europe.

Meanwhile, a decision by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on booster doses of the vaccine is pending.

Shares fell marginally in premarket trading after the company missed Wall Street estimates for third-quarter sales, setting the tone for results from other pharma companies and medical devices makers.

"There was good news and bad," Citi analyst Joanne Wuensch said, pointing to upbeat profit forecast alongside weak sales.

Sales in its medical devices unit rose 8% to $6.64 billion in the third quarter, as a restart of hip and knee surgeries and other non-urgent procedures helped offset weak demand for medical devices used in sports and spine procedures.

But the unit missed the analyst estimates of $6.87 billion.

Excluding items, J&J earned $2.60 per share, beating expectations of $2.35 per share, according to Refinitv data.

J&J lifted its 2021 forecast for adjusted earnings per share to between $9.77 and $9.82, from its prior estimates of $9.60 to $9.70.

Overall sales of $23.34 billion missed expectations of $23.72 billion.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur) ((Manas.Mishra@thomsonreuters.com; www.twitter.com/Manasmishra24))


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