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Johnson & Johnson eyes US$2.5B in COVID-19 vaccine sales despite Q3 slide

Click to play video: 'Canada to donate 10M Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries'
Canada to donate 10M Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries
WATCH: Canada to donate 10M Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries – Aug 12, 2021

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday reported lower-than-expected quarterly revenue after sales of its COVID-19 vaccine missed Wall Street estimates following a string of production setbacks.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey-based company maintained its 2021 sales goal of US$2.5 billion from the vaccine, and said it recorded US$766 million in sales of the shot in the first nine months of 2021 – which indicates that sales will have to more than triple in the fourth quarter to meet its forecast.

“We’re still very much committed to the $2.5 billion of revenue and the supply that is correlated to that,” Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told investors on a conference call.

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

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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.

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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.

“It’s hard to say if J&J will meet that target or not, but with the booster guidance coming out soon, that could provide a boost to the fourth quarter,” Edwards Jones analyst Ashtyn Evans told Reuters.

Click to play video: 'US FDA warns Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine linked to rare neurological reaction'
US FDA warns Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine linked to rare neurological reaction

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to authorize a booster dose of the J&J vaccine, with a decision expected in the coming days.

J&J’s shares rose nearly two per cent in morning trade, reversing a premarket fall, as the company raised its overall adjusted profit forecast and beat earnings estimates.

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Sales in its medical devices unit rose eight per cent to US$6.64 billion but missed analyst estimates of US$6.87 billion, hurt by a resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the Delta variant.

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

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

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

COVID-19 vaccine sales of US$502 million missed estimates of US$815 million, according to FactSet.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra in Bengaluru; Editing by Will Dunham and Arun Koyyur)

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