J&J suspends sales forecast for COVID-19 vaccine, cuts profit view

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Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday cut its full-year profit expectation and suspended sales forecast for its COVID-19 vaccine after having earlier predicted as much as $3.5 billion in sales from the shot.

The world’s largest healthcare conglomerate cited uncertain demand and supply surplus of rival shots that have fared much better than its single-dose vaccine for cancelling the forecast.

The vaccine, which is sold at a “not-for-profit” price, brought in $457 million in the first quarter. Its sales last year had underperformed rival mRNA shots also due to manufacturing bottlenecks and safety concerns.

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Pfizer Inc has forecast $32 billion in 2022 sales from its COVID-19 vaccine developed with BioNTech, while Moderna has forecast $21 billion.

J&J said it now expects full-year adjusted profit forecast to be between $10.15 and $10.35 per share, lower than the prior forecast of $10.40 to $10.60. Overall sales of $23.43 billion in the first quarter missed Refinitiv estimates of $23.61 billion.

“The slight miss was really around the COVID-19 vaccine and quite frankly it met our internal expectations. There was just a disconnect into how the Street assumed it was going to play out over the year,” Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk told CNBC.

Last year, production at the Maryland plant of its contract manufacturer Emergent BioSolutions was halted by the US Food and Drug Administration last as an accidental mix-up of ingredients ruined about 15 million vaccine doses.

The New York Times reported in February that J&J shut down the only plant making usable batches of its COVID-19 vaccine late last year.

Excluding items, J&J earned $2.67 per share, beating market expectation of $2.56 per share.

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