New Brunswick: Johnson & Johnson plans to seek approval for 11 new medicines between now and 2015 as it drives a revival of its pharmaceuticals business.
The diversified healthcare company, whose prescription medicines have dragged down company earnings in the past two years due to generic competition, also plans to seek more than 30 approvals for product line extensions over the same time period.
J&J highlighted its strategy on Thursday as it held a six-hour meeting with analysts to review its pharmaceuticals business. Shares of J&J were down 0.9% at $65.70 in premarket trading.
The company plans to expand geographically, including increasing investments in emerging markets. It also cited Japan as a key growth market, with the company planning to launch seven drugs in the country in 2011.
J&J in April reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings as rebounding prescription drug sales overshadowed declines in sales of over-the-counter medicines that have been plagued by recalls.
J&J’s pharmaceuticals business generated $22.4 billion in sales in 2010, 36% of the company’s total revenue. J&J said it ranks as the world’s eighth-largest pharmaceutical company and fifth-largest biotech company.
J&J has six new drugs that could drive $6 billion in new product sales by 2015, according to Sanford Bernstein analyst Derrick Sung. They are Stelara for psoriasis, Simponi for rheumatoid arthritis, Zytiga for prostate cancer, HIV drug Edurant, hepatitis C medicine telaprevir -- for which J&J has European rights -- and blood-clot preventer Xarelto.
First-quarter global sales of J&J’s prescription drugs rose 7.5% to $6.1 billion, with contributions from older and newer medicines. That was a turnaround for the pharmaceuticals unit, which has reported anemic sales in recent years because of patent expirations on its Risperdal schizophrenia treatment and Topamax anti-convulsant, both former blockbusters.
The first-quarter pharmaceuticals sales growth was twice that of J&J’s somewhat larger medical devices unit and was a stark contrast to declining sales of its consumer products business.
The consumer business has suffered repeated recalls of Tylenol and other over-the-counter medicines in the past 17 months after regulators cited faulty procedures and other quality-control lapses at three factories. It is fixing the problems under supervision of the US government.