Johnson & Johnson has kicked off the reporting season by posting an 11.8% increase to $7.30 billion in pharmaceutical sales for the fourth quarter, helped by strong sales of its prostate cancer drug Zytiga and the Bayer-partnered bloodthinner Xarelto.

Group net income came in at $3.52 billion, a rise of about 37%, while total turnover reached $18.36 billion, up 4.5%. J&J’s biggest seller was once again the Merck & Co-partnered anti-inflammatory Remicade (infliximab), sales of which shot up 13.8% to $1.71 billion, while the latter’s follow-up Simponi (golimumab) shot up 40.3% to $254 million. Stelara (ustekinumab) for moderate to severe plaque psoriasis jumped 55.0% to $417 million.

The most striking performances came from Zytiga (abiraterone), which contributed $495 million to J&J's coffers, up 87.5%, while Xarelto (rivaroxaban) brought in $271 million. Sales of Velcade (bortezomib) for multiple myeloma climbed 4.4% to $524 million, while the HIV therapy Prezista (darunavir) rose 30.6% to $461 million.

The schizophrenia drug Invega (paliperidone extended-release) was up 4.8% to $154 million, while Invega Sustenna/Xeplion (paliperidone palmitate) saw sales leap 53.5% to $350 million.

Chief executive Alex Gorsky (pictured) said on a conference call that J&J is the fastest-growing top-ten pharmaceutical company in the USA, Europe and Japan, adding that "about 25% of our sales are coming from products we've introduced in just the past five years". He went on to state that the firm will file more than 10 new molecules for approval between 2013-2017 and around 25 additional line extensions of already-marketed products.

However, J&J shares fell back as investors were disappointed by lower-than-expected earnings guidance for full-year 2014.