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J&J expects COVID-19 vaccine sales boost in 2022 on strong demand

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Johnson & Johnson said on Tuesday it expects to generate as much as $3.5 billion from the sale of its COVID-19 vaccine this year compared to $2.39 billion in 2021, in a sign of easing manufacturing problems and increasing demand.

Delivery delays and an uneven demand during last year resulted in the drugmaker narrowly missing its goal of garnering $2.50 billion in vaccine sales in 2021.

J&J shares fell nearly two per cent before the opening bell as overall fourth-quarter sales also missed market expectations due to a bleak performance by a few of the big revenue drivers such as cancer drug Imbruvica and Crohn’s disease treatment Stelara.

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Contributions from the coronavirus vaccine are expected to be a small part of J&J’s overall sales as the company sells it at a not-for-profit price.

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Rivals Pfizer and Moderna, however, have benefited from sales of their vaccines, predicting multi-billion dollars in revenue in 2021 and 2022. Moderna expects $18.5 billion in 2022 from vaccine sales and Pfizer $29 billion.

Overall, J&J expects annual sales of $98.9 billion to $100.4 billion, above expectations of $97.79 billion.

This is due to a big leap in sales expectation for COVID-19 vaccine, J.P. Morgan analyst Chris Schott said. The brokerage had expected sales of $1.5 billion in 2022.

J&J’s forecast comes at a time when it is looking to separate its consumer health unit and focus on medical devices and pharmaceuticals businesses.

The devices unit has been under pressure as non-urgent procedures such as hip and knee replacement surgeries get delayed once again due to the Omicron variant.

Sales of J&J’s and AbbVie’s cancer drug Imbruvica came in at $1.06 billion, below estimates of $1.17 billion. Stelara sales of $2.33 billion also missed estimates of $2.45 billion.

Overall sales of $24.80 billion missed expectations of $25.29 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

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

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