Johnson & Johnson

Growing up, many of us have used products by Johnson & Johnson. ‘J&J’ is an American company which produces, among other things, no-tears baby shampoo, the Janssen COVID vaccine, mouthwash, and the most popular branded paracetamol product in the US. J&J’s consumer health is usually seen as the ‘face’ of the company, with brands like Band-Aid and Tylenol being long-standing household names, but its revenues are dwarfed by the pharmaceutical segment. Overall, J&J is the largest pharmaceutical company in the world.

The company was founded in 1886 in New Brunswick, New Jersey under ‘Johnson & Johnson’ by brothers Robert, James, and Edward Johnson, who began producing medicated plasters. J&J grew steadily, and it expanded into Canada in 1919 and then Britain in 1924. Among other popular innovations, the company created and popularized the ‘first-aid kit’, which was supplied to workers far away from hospitals. Their reputation for innovation continued with the launch of the famous ‘no more tears’ baby shampoo in 1953 and continued throughout the rest of the century, developing the first coronary stent in 1994. Anti-cancer drugs are some of J&J’s biggest sellers, alongside the immunology division. Within the immunology department, the monoclonal antibody treatment Ustekinumab is the company’s biggest source of revenue, and it made $6.3 billion in sales in 2019 alone.

In 2021, recognizing the disparate nature of its product portfolio, CEO Alex Gorsky announced the company’s intention to separate consumer products and pharmaceutical businesses. The latter division sometimes operates under the name Janssen, and it will retain the J&J name and ticker. In the same year, J&J saw disappointing sales of its Janssen COVID vaccine. Though it remains a highly profitable product, it was relegated to a secondary option or given away by certain countries.

J&J began listing on the New York Stock Exchange in 1944 at $37.50 per share under the ticker ‘JNJ’. As of 2021, it has a market capitalization of $428.82 billion. J&J is a constituent stock of the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P500 and accordingly is very popular with institutional investors, with Vanguard and State Street being the largest shareholders.

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