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Will biosimilars play spoilsport in Johnson & Johnson earnings?

Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) earnings results are due on April 17 before the opening bell, amidst concerns over the rising threat from biosimilars. Sale of its blockbuster arthritis drug, Remicade, was particularly impacted by the rising influence of biosimilars, especially in the international markets. It needs to be seen how much the company has resisted this trend in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the healthcare bellwether had earlier stated that it does not see any potential biosimilar threats for its other key products such as Zytiga, Risperdal Consta, Invega Sustenna and Prezista in the American market this year. Only the Tuesday’s earnings release will give more hints on how much this claim could be true.

A board outside Johnson & Johnson headquarters
Image courtesy: Open Grid Scheduler, Flickr

Separately, sale of products related to pulmonary arterial hypertension, an area of expertise brought under J&J’s umbrella with the acquisition of Actelion, had a sequential fall in the fourth quarter.

The stock has been down over 6% so far this year, compared to a fall of just 1% seen by the healthcare sector.

But these are pretty much the negatives. The company has been doing pretty well over the last year, surprising investors with earnings beats every single time in all four trailing quarters. The company’s sales have picked up pace especially in the second half of 2017, driven by solid performances in the Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical segments.

The company expects these two segments to continue to outperform in 2018 as well, thanks to a diversified portfolio of products including, Xarelto, Darzalex, Imbruvica, and Stelara. The Actelion acquisition, which has made a meaningful contribution to Johnson & Johnson’s portfolio, is also expected to boost Pharmaceutical revenue this quarter to about $9.5 billion. Another key product to watch out for is the newly-launched psoriasis drug Tremfya. It had posted approximately $47 million in sales in the fourth quarter, and the upcoming quarter will measure its market success.

The company’s sales have picked up pace especially in the second half of 2017, driven by solid performances in the Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical segments.

In the Medical Devices segment, the cardiovascular and ophthalmology units will drive sales, though a portion of this could be offset by Diabetes care sales, which is seeing continued weakness.

The Consumer segment is predicted to perform in a mixed manner, with a boost provided by its recent acquisitions and headwinds coming from a slowdown in foreign markets.

Also on the conference call, check out what the company officials have to say about its revenue from the much-anticipated HIV treatment Juluca, which is currently awaiting EU approval.

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