Johnson & Johnson expects lucrative return on drug pipeline

Johnson & Johnson expects a lucrative return from its pharmaceutical business, with plans to seek approval by 2019 for more than 10 new products, each with the potential to top $1 billion in annual sales.

The health care products maker said Wednesday that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies business also will pursue approvals of more than 40 additional uses for existing or new products.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson announced its plans Wednesday ahead of a review of its pharmaceutical business with analysts. The company's drug portfolio focuses on five areas: immunology, infectious diseases and vaccines, neuroscience, cardiovascular and metabolism, and oncology.

The company expects growth to come from several drugs currently in late-stage clinical testing, the last phase before a drugmaker seeks approval. Those include potential treatments for the bone marrow cancer multiple myeloma, rheumatoid arthritis and prostate cancer that has not spread.

Many of the drugs in Johnson & Johnson's pipeline were developed with or licensed from other .

Janssen also announced Tuesday that it will partner with Achillion Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop and sell hepatitis C treatments, a lucrative market for drugmakers already filled with newer blockbuster treatments like Sovaldi and Harvoni.

Those drugs have hurt sales of Johnson & Johnson's hepatitis C treatment, Olysio, which saw revenue tumble 34 percent to $234 million in the first quarter.

Achillion representatives said Tuesday during a conference call that Johnson & Johnson will make a $225 million equity investment in their company, and Achillion is eligible for more than $900 million in milestone payments under the deal.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson climbed 48 cents to $104.44 Wednesday before markets opened. The stock had actually slipped less than 1 percent so far this year, as of Tuesday's market close.

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