Johnson & Johnson has seen its profit jump 13% for the second quarter on the back of strong sales of its new -generation medicines.

The healthcare giant beat expectations with earnings of $4.3 billion for the period, compared to $3.8 billion posted a year ago. Excluding special items, earnings per share came in at $1.66, up 12.2%.

Sales up 9.1%

The rise was largely driven by a sales increase of 9.1% to $19.5 billion which, in turn, was driven by solid performances by new drugs in its pharma segment.

Worldwide pharmaceutical sales topped $8.5 billion, marking enviable growth of 21.1%, helped by turnover of: the chronic hepatitis C drug Olysio/Sovriad (simeprevir), which hit $831 million; the blood thinner Xarelto (rivaroxaban), rocketing 91% to $361 million; and prostate cancer drug Zytiga (abiraterone acetate), up 42% at $562 million, among others.

It was also noted that the US Food and Drug Administration has assigned a priority review designation to the firm's supplemental New Drug Application for the use of Olysio in combination with Gilead Science's gamechanger HCV drug Sovaldi (sofosbuvir).

On the downside, sales of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug Concerta (methylphenidate HCI) fell 33% to $145 million as generic competition continued to bite.

Elsewhere, worldwide consumer sales were also up, albeit by a smaller magnitude of 2.4% to $3.7 billion, which includes a currency drag of 1.2%. 

Guidance raised

Commenting on the results, Alex Gorsky, J&J's chief executive, said that “significant advancements are being made in the treatment options and access to care for patients and customers around the world," and that the firm's "diversified business model, focus on long-term growth drivers and talented colleagues position us well in this evolving and dynamic global health care market".

On the back of its second-quarter results J&J has boosted its earnings guidance for full-year 2014 to $5.85 - $5.92 per share (excluding special items).