Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) Coronavirus Vaccine in Doubt As Q3 Earnings Top Estimates
Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) is the latest pharmaceutical giant to hit a stumbling block on the development of a much-needed coronavirus vaccine. The company has paused Phase 3 trials after one of the participants became sick of an unexplained illness.
The company had started recruiting participants in September with the goal of enrolling up to 60,000 volunteers across more than 200 sites. Everything has now been put on hold as the company tries to study and understand the adverse events reported in one of the participants.
While JNJ was the tenth company to conduct phase 3 trials against COVID-19, it is a major blow for the U.S as it brings to two the companies that have had to pause trials. AstraZeneca plc (NASDAQ:AZN) was the first company to halt trials early last month after one of the participants developed a neurological condition.
The U.S Government had bet big on Johnson & Johnson coronavirus vaccine program investing $1.45 billion in funding under Operation Warp Speed, designed to accelerate development. Johnson & Johnson is using the same technology it used to come up with an Ebola vaccine on the proposed coronavirus vaccine.
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Amid the disappointments in clinical trials, JnJ has reported better than expected third-quarter earnings affirming growth in the underlying business amid a challenging business environment. Higher sales in the medical device unit and higher demand for drugs saw the results top Wall Street expectations on earnings and revenues.
Adjusted earnings came in at $2.20 a share, higher than $1.98 a share projected by analysts. Revenues, on the other hand, topped $21.08 billion compared to consensus estimates of $20.72 billion. Buoyed by the stellar third-quarter results, the pharmaceutical giant has raised its full-year guidance.
Likewise, Johnson & Johnson expects full-year adjusted earnings of between $7.95 and $8.05 a share, up from previous guidance of between $7.75 to $7.95 a share. The company expects sales to come in the range of $82 billion and $82.8 billion, up from previous guidance of between $79.9 billion and $81.4 billion.
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