Johnson & Johnson announces 7 percent rise in Q1 drug sales, deal to buy Peninsula

Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday said that its pharmaceutical sales rose 7 percent in the first quarter, while its other divisions helped increase overall revenue to $12.8 billion, an 11 percent increase over last year, TheStreet and other news sources report. The drugmaker also announced a deal to buy the biotechnology company, Peninsula, for about $245 million in cash.

Global pharmaceutical sales rose to $5.8 billion for the quarter, driven by strong sales of rheumatoid arthritis treatment, Remicade, epilepsy drug, Topamax, and Risperdal, an antipsychotic. That growth offset declining sales of Procrit, which was hurt by rivals, as reported in ABC News. International drug sales increased 13.8 percent.

Overall net income rose 17 percent to $2.9 billion for the first quarter, compared with $2.5 billion last year. Credit Suisse First Boston maintained a neutral rating on the company, however, because 45 percent of the drugmaker's revenue and more than 50 percent of its profits come from its pharmaceutical division, "where it shares the same pipeline and generic challenges as the rest of Big Pharma," Forbes reports.

Johnson & Johnson expects the Peninsula acquisition to close in the second quarter, as reported in the news sources. The biotech develops antibiotics for life-threatening infections and its lead candidate, doripenem, is a broad-spectrum antibiotic that is currently in Phase III testing. The FDA has agreed to review the drug for fast-track status as a treatment for nosocomial pneumonia, including ventilator-associated pneumonia.

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