The pharmaceutical giant had sold just $766 million worth of the vaccine in the nine-month period that ended last month, it announced Tuesday morning along with its third-quarter earnings results.
Still, Johnson & Johnson reiterated its full-year COVID-19 vaccine sales outlook of $2.5 billion, meaning the company will need a blockbuster fourth-quarter vaccine sprint to meet its own expectations.
The pharmaceutical giant’s $502 million in sales of its single-shot COVID-19 vaccine was a major jump from its second-quarter vaccine revenue of just $164 million — when the company’s shot was marred by efficacy questions.
In that quarter, use of the vaccine, which was once heralded for its single-shot ease and its ability to inoculate hard-to-reach populations, was paused after it was linked to severe blood clots among younger patients.
Within days, the pause was lifted and the vaccine was back on the shelves with a new warning label after an extensive safety review by the FDA and CDC found the benefits of using the medicine far outweighed the risks.
Production efforts were also hampered that quarter by issues, including an April incident that saw the shutdown of a Baltimore manufacturing plant after the vaccine was contaminated with the Astra-Zeneca inoculation, which was being made in the same facility.
While Johnson & Johnson saw a substantial increase in quarter-over-quarter COVID-19 vaccine sales, the company’s vaccine rollout is paltry compared with its peers.
The other major COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers, Moderna and Pfizer, have yet to report third-quarter earnings, but Moderna said in August that it saw sales of its COVID-19 vaccine fall under $4.2 billion, trouncing J&J’s latest quarterly figure.
In July, Pfizer reported second-quarter COVID-19 vaccine sales of a whopping $7.8 billion, and upped its forecast for full-year sales of the two-shot regimen to $33.5 billion, handily topping J&J’s expectations, which are lofty for the firm based on their quarterly performance.
In total, Johnson & Johnson reported quarterly revenue of $23.34, falling short of analyst expectations, though earnings per share beat expectations.
J&J’s CFO Joseph Wolk told CNBC that the lower-than-expected revenue was due to underperforming sales of the COVID-19 vaccine and disappointing revenue in the company’s medical device unit.
The Food and Drug Administration has already authorized Pfizer’s booster shot for certain groups, and an advisory panel for the FDA last week unanimously endorsed the authorization of Moderna’s booster shot.
The same panel also endorsed J&J’s booster shot, with experts urging recipients of the vaccine to immediately get the second shot to boost defense against the virus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House’s chief medical advisor, even said Sunday that the J&J vaccine should have been a two-dose regimen the whole time — which likely would have boosted J&J’s revenue from the shots.
Shares of J&J fell less than 1 percent on the news. It was last seen exchanging hands in premarket trading at $159.30 per share.
In a press release, outgoing CEO Alex Gorsky said, “Our third-quarter results demonstrate solid performance across Johnson & Johnson, driven by robust above-market results in Pharmaceuticals, ongoing recovery in Medical Devices, and strong growth in Consumer Health.”