JPM 2022: New Johnson & Johnson CEO Duato points out 5 pipeline meds that can generate $5B-plus

duato
Joaquin Duato became Johnson & Johnson's CEO last week. (J&J)

Johnson & Johnson, preparing for a consumer health spinoff late next year, has big plans in pharmaceuticals for the coming decade.

By 2025, the company aims to generate $60 billion in pharma sales, leaning mostly on existing medicines for growth until then, new CEO Joaquin Duato said during the virtual J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference on Monday. In the second half of the decade, the company expects a handful of new launches to contribute in a major way.

Among the healthcare giant's pipeline, Duato highlighted five programs that could generate $5 billion or more in peak sales. Those are the Legend Biotech-partnered CAR-T medicine Carvykti, the potential “pipeline in a product” drug nipocalimab, Rybrevant in lung cancer, a potential first-in-class oral Factor XIa inhibitor milvexian and a potential bladder cancer platform called Taris.

Carvykti is a "best-in-class" BCMA CAR-T drug for multiple myeloma that could change the "paradigm of treatment" through potential combinations, Duato said. That med is expected to launch this year after the FDA delayed its approval decision in November.

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As for nipocalimab, that drug could treat 10 or more rare and prevalent diseases, J&J said during a November pharmaceutical business review. Moving down Duato's list, the CEO said its Bristol Myers-partnered oral Factor XIa inhibitor milvexian "could be a very big product." That drug recently turned in positive phase 2 data, and the partners are planning a phase 3 program.

Meanwhile, Rybrevant won an FDA approval last year to treat adults with non-small cell lung cancer whose tumors have epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) exon 20 insertion mutations. In combination with Yuhan Corp.'s Leclaza, the drug could transform treatment for certain patients with lung cancer, J&J said during the November business review. 

Lastly, the Taris bladder cancer platform allows for local delivery of a variety of drugs into the bladder—either alone or in combination with other systemic agents, such as cetrelimab, a PD-1 inhibitor, J&J says.

Duato highlighted the promising candidates during a one-on-one conversation with J.P. Morgan senior analyst Chris Schott. After taking the reins last week, the CEO said he'll continue to manage the healthcare giant as a “three-sector company” as J&J preps for its consumer healthcare spinoff late next year. Within the pharma business, J&J expects big-sellers such as cancer drug Darzalex and immunology med Tremfya to chip in most of the growth through the decade's halfway point. 

To reach its $60 billion goal for the pharma unit, the company is planning to file 36 applications for new indications, new line expansions or new formulations for 13 existing blockbuster products by 2025, Duato said. Those medicines will drive the majority of J&J’s growth through 2025, the CEO added.

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J&J is counting on the growth to offset expected sales declines for megablockbuster immunology drug Stelara, which loses U.S. patent protections next year. The drug generated $6.8 billion during the first nine months of 2021 and is currently J&J's largest product by sales.