Johnson & Johnson expects 14 new blockbusters by the middle of the decade, execs say

Johnson & Johnson recently unveiled its plan to spin out its consumer health business, following in the footsteps of several other drugmakers that have slimmed down to focus on their pharmaceutical units. Now, J&J execs are talking up the prospects of their own pharma business.

Johnson & Johnson expects to become a $60-billion-a-year drugmaker by 2025, execs said Thursday during a pharmaceutical strategy review. Specifically, J&J expects to achieve compound annual revenue growth of at least 5% per year through the middle of the decade, with growth expected every year, Jennifer Taubert, executive vice president, worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at J&J, said on the call. 

To get there, the company will rely on a combination of established medicines, investigational drugs, and new, innovative therapeutics such as CAR-T meds and gene therapies, Taubert said. The company has 14 novel medicines on the way, all of which have more than $1 billion in sales potential. Even sweeter, five of those products have the potential to reap $5 billion or more, Taubert said. 

As for its established brands, J&J expects eight products to deliver double-digit revenue growth through 2025. Fourteen established J&J meds are expected to reel in more than $1 billion each by the middle of the decade, Taubert added. 

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J&J stalwarts Darzalex, Imbruvica, Erleada and Tremfya are a few examples of existing drugs poised for growth, Taubert said. Cancer med Darzalex could soon get a boost from a combination regimen approval in frontline multiple myeloma. Together with Revlimid and the steroid dexamethasone, the combo therapy recently posted a progression-free survival improvement of nearly 30 months versus Revlimid alone, Taubert said. 

On the immunology front, J&J's IL-23 inhibitor Tremfya, approved in psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, could soon make the jump into Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

"Less than 10% of moderate to severe [irritable bowel disease] patients are in sustained clinical remission, and Tremfya has the potential to transform IBD outcomes," Taubert said. 

J&J recently reported phase 2 results showing 65% of Crohn's disease patients on Tremfya attained clinical remission through one year, Taubert noted.  

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Meanwhile, J&J is taking a "rigorous" approach to planning to ensure that losses of exclusivity don't knock it off course, Taubert said. The company proved it could endure and continue to grow despite Remicade's patent cliff a few years back, she noted.

"We're prepared to do the same through anticipated loss of exclusivity in the future," she added. "As a result of our actions, our key marketed medicines will continue to fuel significant growth throughout the 2025 time horizon."