Johnson & Johnson promises 2021 profit jump, vaccine data “soon”

The company logo for Johnson & Johnson is displayed on a screen to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the company's listing at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S.

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.

The company had previously signaled that it expected to deliver data on the trial before the end of January, at a time when global hopes of defeating the virus are riding on securing adequate supplies of multiple vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson, 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. The company reported that it had recorded 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.

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

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