(Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson’s first-quarter drug sales narrowly outpaced Wall Street expectations as the company beat profit estimates, a step towards boosting profitability after the spinoff of its consumer division. 

Adjusted quarterly profit was $2.71 a share, J&J said Tuesday in a statement, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $2.65. Sales of medicines were $13.6 billion, slightly outpacing the average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg, while overall revenue matched Street projections. 

J&J split off its consumer-health unit that makes Tylenol and Listerine last year as Kenvue Inc. in order to focus on higher-margin sales of drugs and medical devices. The company still faces declining revenues from its top-selling psoriasis drug Stelara next year and is looking to products like prostate-cancer therapy Erleada and Tremfya for psoriasis to fill the gap. 


Sales of Tremfya, Imbruvica for cancer and Darzalex, J&J’s top-selling drug for multiple myeloma, all beat analysts’ projections. Revenue from Tecvayli, a treatment for severe multiple myeloma, more than doubled from a year ago to $133 million. 

The profit beat was due in part to persistently high interest rates, Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk said. The company raised its yearly guidance for net interest income by $100 million based on the first quarter’s results, according to a company presentation.

“Everybody’s assumption was we probably would have had a rate cut,” Wolk said in an interview. “We have pretty high cash balances, so that can add up pretty quickly.”

The company narrowed its adjusted profit guidance for the year to a range of $10.57 to $10.72 a share, from the earlier forecast of $10.55 to $10.75 a share. 

J&J shares dipped 1.7% at the market open in New York.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J has also been investing in medical devices, agreeing earlier this month to buy Shockwave Medical Inc. for $13.1 billion. J&J also closed the purchase of Abiomed Inc., a maker of heart devices, at the end of 2022 for $16.6 billion.






(Updates with CFO comments in last two paragraphs.)

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