J&J Q1: Carvykti sales surge amid continued M&A momentum

With a roughly flat quarter in sales revenue, J&J said it will continue to expand capacity and cites Carvykti as a key driver for growth in 2024.

Shreeyashi Ojha, Reporter

April 22, 2024

3 Min Read

For the first quarter of 2024, US pharma giant Johnson & Johnson (J&J) reported sales growth of $21.4 billion, up 2.3% year-on-year.

During the financial call Jennifer Taubert, worldwide chairman, innovative medicine for J&J said the firm witnessed a flat growth owing to “some phasing and timing of orders.” However, anticipating a year of growth for the assets particularly in the second half of the year, Taubert added, “as we continue to add more slots and expand our capacity, [...] based on the data and everything that we're seeing, we have a lot of optimism for how Carvykti is performing.”

Carvykti (ciltacabtagene autoleucel) pulled in $157 million in sales revenue, in comparison to $72 million in the first quarter of 2023. To meet the strong demand and rising sales, the firm is aiming to expand its capacity.

In partnership with Legend Biotech, J&J developed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy Carvytki to treat white blood cell cancer. It was granted authorization by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2022.

Following approval, the firm signed a three-year contract with Novartis to make Carvykti. Additionally, J&J invested in the construction of a large-scale EMEA viral vector facility in Sassenheim, the Netherlands, to provide raw materials to its CAR-T production center in Ghent, Belgium. The firm also assigned  repurposed capacity in the US to support its cell therapy ambitions.

“I'm really happy to say we have doubled our manufacturing capacity since the beginning of 2023 for cell processing. We continue to work on our Ghent facility as a secondary source of supply. We brought on some contract manufacturers, and we have completely transformed and expanded antivirus production so that, that's not a rate-limiting step for us,” said Taubert.

J&J's M&A spree to remain unchanged

The firm's CEO Joaquin Duato shared the company's merger and acquisition (M&A) strategy and said that "it will not change." He further highlighted that the firm looks for long term investments, and that M&A will remain a “critical component” of its capital allocation strategy.

“[...] What we are looking for is a number of components - One, does this technology improve the current standard of care? Two, to what extent we believe there is a patient impact, which is positive? Three, does it enable us to enter into higher growth markets, so areas that are growing in which we can continue to develop that market? And finally, and very important for us, does it continue to deliver compelling financial results for our shareholders?”

As J&J eyes growth through acquisitions, the firm reported income before tax reduction for acquisition, integration and divestiture of $148 million in comparison to $42 million in 2023.

In December 2022, J&J acquired Abiomed, a biotech firm focused on heart, lung and kidney support technologies for $16.6 billion. This was followed by the acquisition of Laminar in 2023.

Announced during the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, J&J acquired Ambrx in a deal worth $2 billion, in January 2024, to amp up its antibody drug conjugate (ADC) pipeline.

In April 2024, J&J expanded its interest in the CAR-T space with the acquisition of preclinical cell and gene therapy (CGT) firm Serotiny. Later that week, J&J acquired Shockwave Medical to boost its heart-disease portfolio in $13.1 billion deal.

About the Author(s)

Shreeyashi Ojha

Reporter, BioProcess Insider

Journalist covering the manufacturing and processing sectors for biopharmaceuticals globally.  

Originally from India, I am a Londoner at heart. I have recently graduated from Goldsmiths, University of London.  

Feel free to reach out to me at: [email protected].

You May Also Like