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Johnson & Johnson's Tremfya Plaque-Psoriasis Treatment Is Cleared by China for Import

Johnson & Johnson is positioning Tremfya as an alternative to a top seller, Novartis's Cosentyx, according to a media report.
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China has approved imports of Johnson & Johnson's (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report Tremfya, a treatment for adults with moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.

Shares of Johnson & Johnson were up marginally to $146.

The drug will be used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis in adults who are suitable for systemic therapy, the National Medical Products Administration said in a notice.

Johnson & Johnson is positioning Tremfya as an alternative to Novartis's (NVS) - Get Novartis AG Report Cosentyx, Reuters reports. Cosentyx was launched two years ago and is among the top-selling treatments in the $11 billion global psoriasis market.

Earlier this month, Morgan Stanley analyst David Lewis increased his rating of the health-care-products maker to overweight from equal weight.

Lewis said in a note to investors that Johnson & Johnson is "the most under-owned stock in healthcare." 

Among other items, Lewis said key drivers in the New Brunswick, N.J., company's pharmaceutical division include strong performances by Tremfya and Spravato, a nasal spray to be used with an oral antidepressant for adults who have treatment-resistant depression.

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In October, J&J reported third-quarter earnings of $2.12 a share, which beat analysts' estimates by 11 cents. Revenue of $20.73 billion topped expectations by $590 million.

The company also raised its full-year adjusted earnings to a range of $8.62 to $8.67 a share, up from the prior forecast of $8.53 to $8.63 a share, with full-year operational sales of as much as $84.2 billion.

Johnson & Johnson's pharmaceuticals business, its largest division, saw sales rise 5.8% to $10.9 billion, offsetting relatively flat revenue in its consumer division of $3.47 billion. Medical-devices sales slipped 3.3% to $6.38 billion.