J&J Expects Up to 6% Growth Next Year with 20-Plus New Drugs by 2030

Johnson & Johnson/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Pictured: Johnson & Johnson Sign/iStock, JHVEPhoto

Johnson & Johnson is pivoting away from its historical mainstays to focus on cancer, depression and autoimmune disease. The company announced its long-term sales outlook Tuesday, forecasting 2024 operational sales growth of 5% to 6%—compared with its 8.5%-to-9% outlook for this year—and a compound annual growth rate of 5% to 7% between 2025 and 2030. 

J&J made the sales outlook announcement to coincide with Tuesday’s investors meeting at the New York Stock Exchange. The company said it plans to deliver more than 20 new medicines and more than 50 product expansions by 2030. Ten of those assets have the potential to deliver $5 billion or more in peak year sales while another 15 candidates have a $1 billion to $5 billion potential, according to J&J. The forecast is based on drugs currently in the pipeline, not including any potential deals on the horizon. 

The company is confident about its growth prospects despite the entrance of biosimilars of its blockbuster immunotherapy to the European market next year and U.S. in 2025. Stelara is approved for psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. It’s been J&J’s top selling drug since 2019, with sales reaching $9.7 billion in 2022. Stelara accounted for a fifth of the company's drug sales in the third quarter of 2023.  

Despite the success of its COVID-19 vaccine development, J&J will be moving away from using adenovirus vector vaccines for infectious diseases. The pandemic revealed the technology came with an extremely rare side effect of life-threatening blood clots and bleeding. 

“We decided not to continue to advance the platform because of these very rare but serious events that occurred with the COVID vaccine that, really then, created doubt in the minds of regulators about the platform and would have made further development of vaccines very, very challenging for us,” John Reed, J&J’s new R&D chief, told STAT News

Pivoting from its infectious disease and vaccine focus, a good chunk of J&J’s projected growth will come from its blood cancer line. New data to be presented at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting, which starts this weekend, may help its anti-CD38 monoclonal antibody for multiple myeloma (MM) move up to first-line treatment for the type of blood cancer.  

In a partnership with Legend Biotech, J&J’s Janssen has CAR-T therapy Carvykti on the market for MM. This type of cell therapy has come under scrutiny from the FDA in the past week as the regulator announced an investigation into whether or not the therapies are causing secondary cancers.  

The rate of cancers that might be caused by CAR-T appears low—less than one in 1,000 treated patients. Other cancer therapies like radiation and some chemotherapy drugs can also cause cancers at much higher rates. The FDA said it is investigating the “serious risk” of malignancies in patients who received treatment with BCMA- or CD19-directed autologous CAR-T cell immunotherapies. The regulator’s probe applies to all currently approved autologous CAR T-cell treatments including J&J's Carvykti. 

J&J is also tackling Alzheimer’s disease with a tau antibody and a tau-targeting vaccine in the works. Programs for immunology and mental health, with antidepressant research and a drug that might show benefit for anhedonia, are also at the forefront of the company’s long-term growth plans.  

Kate Goodwin is a freelance life science writer based in Des Moines, Iowa. She can be reached at kate.goodwin@biospace.com and on LinkedIn

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