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J&J discontinues two drugs, raises earnings guidance again

Johnson & Johnson said it was no longer pursuing global approval of sirukumab as a treatment for moderately to severely active rheumatoid arthritis.

The announcement comes weeks after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration rejected the company's biologics license application seeking approval for the drug.

The regulator indicated that it would require additional clinical data to evaluate the safety of sirukumab.

Furthermore, the company said it discontinued the clinical trial for talacotuzumab which was being studied in patients with acute myeloid leukemia, a type of blood cancer.

Third-quarter results

Johnson & Johnson said third-quarter earnings rose 11.2% and forecast an increase in adjusted earnings in 2017.

Earnings excluding some items, which the company calls adjusted net earnings, was $5.21 billion, or $1.90 per share, up from $4.68 billion, or $1.68 per share, in the same quarter of 2016.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the third quarter was $1.80.

Third-quarter sales were up 10.3% year over year to $19.65 billion, driven by revenues from the pharmaceutical segment.

The company's growth was also augmented by acquisitions, including that of Actelion Ltd.

The company now expects to book full-year 2017 adjusted EPS of between $7.25 and $7.30, up from between $7.12 and $7.22 previously. Full-year sales guidance stands at between $76.1 billion and $76.5 billion from $75.8 billion and $76.1 billion previously.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for 2017 is $7.18.

On a reported basis, the company's third-quarter net earnings were $3.76 billion, or $1.37 a share, down from $4.27 billion, or $1.53 a share, last year.