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Pharmaceutical Segment Is Johnson & Johnson’s Savior in 1Q15

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Pharmaceutical highlights

Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) pharmaceutical segment reported revenue growth of 3.0% in 1Q15. Excluding the impact of currency, it grew by 10.2%. This was due to strong growth in the following therapeutic areas:

  • cardiovascular-metabolism with strong growth of 20.6%
  • oncology with a growth of 8.4%
  • immunology with 5.1% growth

Excluding the impact of currency, cardiovascular-metabolism, oncology, and immunology grew by 25.1%, 21.2%, and 9.9%, respectively, in 1Q15.

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Cardiovascular, metabolism, and other drive growth

Within cardiovascular, metabolism, and other, the following two drugs showed an exceptional performance in 1Q15.

  • Xarelto – Revenues were up by 38% from 1Q14.
  • Invokana – This newer drug had a significant increase in revenues to $278 million from $94 million in 1Q14.

Xarelto is an oral anticoagulant that reduces blood clotting. It’s also called a blood thinner that reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and blockages in arteries and veins. Johnson & Johnson continues to lead the US market with a market share of 57%.

Invokana is used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults. In type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t produce enough insulin or is not able to use insulin properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps cells absorb sugar to get energy.

Strong results by immunology and oncology

In immunology, Stelara and Simponi-Simponi Aria reported strong revenue growth of 20% and 16%, respectively, in 1Q15 compared to 1Q14. The growth was partially offset by a decline in Olysio’s revenues by 34%. This was due to increasing competition by Gilead Sciences (GILD) in the United States. Olysio is used for the treatment of hepatitis C.

In oncology, Imbruvica witnessed a growth of 10% in 1Q15 compared to 1Q14. Imbruvica is used for the treatment of blood cancers. It is the product of Pharmacyclics (PCYC) with a co-marketing agreement with Johnson & Johnson.

As an alternative to investing directly in Johnson & Johnson, you might consider pharmaceutical funds such as the iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (IYH) and the Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV).

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