Johnson & Johnson looks to medical device business

JOHNSON & JOHNSON (J&J) sees its medical device sales growing faster than the industry through 2014 and plans about 80 “significant” regulatory submissions for its largest unit in the next two years.

J&J outlined its growth plans for the medical device business – its top product category with annual sales of $25bn (£17bn) – as it tries to overcome a manufacturing crisis at its consumer unit that makes Tylenol and other products.

Many analysts gathered at company’s headquarters in New Jersey yesterday also hoped for an update about J&J’s series of recalls of Children’s Tylenol and dozens of other over-the-counter medications.

But it was not clear whether management would discuss anything tied to the recalls, now under investigation by the US Food and Drug Administration.

The maker of Band-Aids and Motrin told analysts it expects medical device sales to grow by an average of six per cent per year between 2009 and 2014, outpacing industry growth, which it forecast at five per cent. In 2009, total company sales were $61bn.

Shares of J&J rose 0.5 per cent, outpacing a 0.1 per cent rise for the wider Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

The company said it still expects to seek approval in the United States and Japan by 2012 for its experimental bioabsorbable drug-coated heart stent, called Nevo. It is made of a polymer that disintegrates soon after being implanted to help open a diseased artery.