Johnson & Johnson boosted revenue slightly and doubled its third-quarter profit, mainly due to a $4 billion charge for litigation costs in the year-ago quarter. The health care giant blew past Wall Street expectations and raised its financial forecast for the year.
Meanwhile, the New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company disclosed late Monday that it had to temporarily pause its huge, late-stage study of a potential COVID-19 vaccine “due to an unexplained illness in a study participant.” Such pauses are not unusual in big studies, and it’s unknown whether the participant — one of 60,000 planned for the global study — got J&J’s shot or a placebo.
The world’s biggest maker of health care products on Tuesday reported net income of $3.55 billion, or $1.33 per share, up 103% from $1.75 billion, or 66 cents per share, in 2019’s third quarter.
Excluding one-time gains and expenses, adjusted net income was $5.87 billion, or $2.20 per share, up from $5.67 billion, or or $2.12 per share, a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research were expecting $1.99 per share.
Johnson & Johnson posted revenue of $21.08 billion in the quarter. Analysts expected $20.53 billion.
Despite the strong results, shares were down $2.81, or 1.9%, to $149.03 in morning trading, likely a reaction to news of the vaccine study pause.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, J&J still managed to boost sales of its prescription drugs 5% to $11.42 billion, just over half its entire revenue. Sales were led by autoimmune disorder treatment Stelara, which brought in $1.95 billion, up 15% from a year ago.
Sales of consumer health products like Tylenol and BandAids edged up 1.3% to $3.51 billion.
But sales of medical devices and diagnostic equipment such as surgical tools and hip replacements fell 3.6% to $6.15 billion.
Sales of that equipment often indicates how busy hospitals are, and from the beginning of the pandemic, hospitals in hotspots cancelled scheduled surgeries and many patients postponed care and avoided hospitals for fear of catching the virus.
In a statement, Chief Executive Alex Gorsky said procedure recovery was better than expected. He also said the company is optimistic “for continued recovery in 2020 and strong momentum entering into 2021.”
J&J noted it completed its $6.5 billion purchase of Momenta Pharmaceuticals on Oct. 1. That deal is expected to help the company expand its position in creating drugs that treat autoimmune diseases in which the immune system attacks cells and body tissue, including common chronic disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and colitis.
J&J said it expects adjusted full-year earnings in the range of $7.95 to $8.05 per share, up from its July forecast for $7.75 to $7.95. The company forecast revenue in the range of $81.2 billion to $82 billion, up from $79.9 billion to $81.4 billion.
Johnson & Johnson shares have risen 4% since the beginning of the year, while the S&P 500 index has risen slightly more than 9%. The stock has climbed 18% in the last 12 months.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights using data from Zacks Investment Research.
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Linda A. Johnson, The Associated Press