Johnson & Johnson promises 2021 profit jump, vaccine data "soon"

Quarterly sales rose to $22.48bln from $20.75bln

  
A vial and sryinge are seen in front of a displayed Johnson&Johnson logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021.

A vial and sryinge are seen in front of a displayed Johnson&Johnson logo in this illustration taken January 11, 2021.

REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday forecast 2021 profit above Wall Street estimates and promised data from its widely watched coronavirus vaccine trial soon, as the healthcare conglomerate races to develop a potential single-dose vaccine for COVID-19.

Separately, J&J chief financial officer told CNBC that the company was expecting data sometime next week and was optimistic that it would be robust.

Public health officials are increasingly counting on single-dose vaccines like the one being tested by J&J, as it needs fewer resources to distribute and administer than the authorized shots from Pfizer Inc and Moderna MRNA.O , which require second shots several weeks later.

J&J, which runs a large medical device business in addition to its pharmaceuticals unit, 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.

The company's fourth-quarter profit fell 56.7% to $1.74 billion after recording litigation expenses of $2.9 billion in the fourth quarter.

J&J faces a litany of lawsuits over its marketing of opioids, its pelvic meshes and body powders.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.86 per share, beating estimates of $1.82 per share.

The company's fourth-quarter sales rose to $22.48 billion from $20.75 billion, helped by higher demand for cancer drugs.

Its shares rose 1.8% to $168.88 in trading before the bell.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva) ((Manas.Mishra@thomsonreuters.com; www.twitter.com/Manasmishra24; within U.S. +1 646 223 8780, outside U.S. +91 806749 2709;))

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