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Deutsche Takes A Look At Johnson & Johnson's Patent Woes

Deutsche Bank maintained its Buy rating on Johnson & Johnson JNJ 0.82% despite a federal judge invalidated the company's patent for blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug, Remicade.

The ruling is in favor of Celltrion and Pfizer Inc. PFE 0.28%, which can now sell its Remicade biosimilar Inflectra on or after October 3.

The Remicade patent, which is set to expire in the US in September 2018, was related to the method of action of anti-human tumor necrosis factor-alpha antibodies.

"In our view, it is unclear whether or not this ultimately comes to fruition," analyst Kristen Stewart wrote in a note.

Johnson & Johnson plans to appeal the ruling and views any commercial launch prior to the outcome of the appeals process as an "at risk" launch.

Stewart noted that Remicade generated $4.453 billion in 2015 US sales and accounted for 12 percent of Johnson & Johnson's U.S. total sales and a higher percentage of profits.

Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson reaffirmed its 2016 operational sales growth guidance of 3-4 percent, despite the possibility of a biosimilar launch on or after October 3, 2016.

"We currently model 2016 operational sales growth at the midpoint of the range (3.6%). Our model continues to assume a US patent expiration date of September 2018, though we note this remains a downside risk for the stock," Stewart continued.

At time of writing, shares of Johnson & Johnson were down 0.82 percent to $120.31. Stewart has a price target of $142.

© 2016 Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.