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Lawsuits Put a Drag on J&J 1Q19 Earnings

Johnson & Johnson’s earnings might have been down 14% when compared to last year, but the New Brunswick, NJ-based company was still able to beat analysts’ expectations.

Legal costs surrounding Johnson and Johnson’s talc baby power and its blood thinner Xarleto bogged down the healthcare giant’s 1Q19 earnings. But while earnings from the New Brunswick, NJ-based company were down 14% from a year earlier, the firm managed to beat analyst expectations.

J&J posted income of $3.75 billion or $1.39 per share for 1Q19. In 1Q18, the company brought in $4.37 billion or $1.60 per share.

As a result, the healthcare company changed its full-year earnings forecast to a range of $8.53 to $8.63 a share, down from its previous estimate of between $8.50 and $8.65. The firm said it didn’t change its projected sales of $80.4 billion to $81.2 billion.

The bulk of J&J’s lawsuits during 1Q19 come from its settlement of more than 25,000 lawsuits from the Xarelto blood thinner, according to a report from CNBC. J&J split the $775 million settlement with its partner Bayer, leaving it paying out $387.5 million, according to the CNBC report.

On the medtech front, the company said its device sales worldwide were at $6.5 billion, declining 1%. 

“We want to see better performance,” Joseph Wolk, executive VP and CFO of J&J, said according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “It's really benchmarked or anchored in our statement last year on our Medical Device in Analyst day, where we want to be at or above market by 2020. You've seen a consistent trajectory each and every quarter. So, whether we're going to say 4.3% is now the new bar, we'll have to see how the quarters play out. But we're really looking at that 2020 horizon to make sure that we're at market performance or better.”

A bright spot in the device unit is the Auris Health acquisition. J&J announced in February that it would acquire the surgical robotics specialist in February for $3.4 billion plus an additional $2.35 billion in possible milestones.

Auris develops robotic technologies that have been focused on lung cancer. The firm has the Monarch Platform, an FDA cleared system currently used in bronchoscopic diagnostic and therapeutic procedures.

During its earnings call, Tuesday, J&J executives said the acquisition ties very closely with what the company is doing with Verb, its surgical robotics joint venture with Verily Lifesciences.

“I would say we view the Auris acquisition as highly complementary to our Verb program,” Executive Vice President, Worldwide Chairman, Medical Devices, Johnson & Johnson said according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha. “I was at Verb just last week, and I'm pleased with how they're knocking down risk every day. They have completed all preclinical procedural developments for several procedures. They've engaged with hundreds of surgeons. They're engaging right now with notified bodies on the regulatory pathways. So, I would say, stay tuned.”



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