The company said the study doesn’t address all the ways in which its vaccine protects against Covid-19.
Luca Sola/AFP via Getty Images
said it expects $2.5 billion in sales of its Covid-19 vaccine this year, as a new study by researchers at New York University raised questions about the vaccine’s efficacy against the Delta variant.
Shares of the big pharma giant were up 0.9% in the premarket hours on Wednesday, after the company reported stronger financial results than expected for the second quarter of its fiscal year. Management pushed back against the findings of the study.
The company reported adjusted earnings of $2.48 per share, up 48.5% from the same quarter last year, and 8.3% better than the FactSet consensus estimate of $2.29. Sales for the quarter of $23.3 billion also beat consensus estimates, and were up 27.1% from the same quarter last year.
also raised its financial forecasts for the year, saying it now expects reported sales of between $93.8 billion and $94.6 billion, both above the current FactSet consensus estimate of $92.3 billion. It said it expects adjusted earnings of between $9.60 and $9.70 per share, up from its previous projection of between $9.42 and $9.57 per share, and above the $9.56 now expected by Wall street analysts, according to FactSet.
In one hopeful sign for the broader market recovery, the company said that worldwide medical device sales, which took a substantial hit during the early stages of the pandemic as patients deferred and canceled medical procedures, were up 58.7% compared with the same quarter last year.
Johnson & Johnson (ticker: JNJ) is selling its Covid-19 vaccine on a not-for-profit basis, so its vaccine sales don’t have direct implications for its earnings. Still, it spelled out its estimate of $2.5 billion in Covid-19 vaccine sales this year by breaking out sales projections for its base business, and its business including Covid-19 vaccines.
As the Delta variant has spread across the U.S. in recent weeks, and the average number of new daily cases across the country spikes nearly 200%, concerns are rising about the efficacy of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine against the variant. Across the U.S., 13.1 million people have received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
A lab study by scientists who work with the company, published in early July, showed that the vaccine does elicit neutralizing antibody activity against the Delta variant, which suggested it could offer substantial protections.
Real-world evidence from U.K. scientists on
(AZN) Covid-19 vaccine, which is similar to Johnson & Johnson’s, had raised concerns, however. While the
vaccine is highly effective against the Delta variant after two doses, it is only minimally effective after a single dose. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is only administered as a single-dose.
On Tuesday, scientists at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine published a paper, hasn’t yet been peer reviewed, to the website bioRxiv describing a study that examined the blood of patients who had received the Johnson & Johnson,
(MRNA) vaccines. The scientists tested the blood against viruses that resembled the Delta variant, among others, and found that neutralizing antibody levels elicited by the Johnson & Johnson vaccine were very low.
The authors of the paper wrote that their findings suggest that patients who receive a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a second dose as well.
“The message that we wanted to give was not that people shouldn’t get the J.&J. vaccine, but we hope that in the future, it will be boosted with either another dose of J.&J. or a boost with
or Moderna,” one of the authors of the study, NYU Grossman School of Medicine professor Nathaniel Landau, told the New York Times.
Johnson & Johnson, in a statement, said that the data provided in the study “do not speak to the full nature of immune protection.”
The study measured neutralizing antibody response elicited by the vaccine, but the company contended that the vaccine also offers other modes of protection. “The dual mechanisms of protection against COVID-19 that are generated by the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, both neutralizing and non-neutralizing binding antibodies and multiple kinds of T-cells, play a cooperative role in combating SARS COV-2,” the company said.
Speaking on CNBC on Wednesday morning, Johnson & Johnson chief financial officer
pushed back on the argument that people who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine should receive a second dose. “It’s probably best for everyone to defer to health officials, who have not yet recommended a booster, even for some less-duration vaccines out there, at this point, who have really the benefit of all the data, before we make any conclusions about when or if boosters are needed,” Wolk said.
Johnson & Johnson has scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Eastern time.
Write to Josh Nathan-Kazis at email@example.com