Johnson & Johnson has today forecast 2021 profit above Wall Street estimates and promised data from its widely watched coronavirus vaccine trial soon.

This comes as the healthcare conglomerate races to develop a potential single-dose vaccine for Covid-19. 

Separately, J&J chief financial officer told CNBC that the company was expecting data sometime next week and was optimistic that it would be robust. 

Public health officials are increasingly counting on single-dose vaccines like the one being tested by J&J.

This is because the vaccine needs fewer resources to distribute and administer than the authorised shots from Pfizer and Moderna, which require second shots several weeks later. 

J&J runs a large medical device business in addition to its pharmaceuticals unit.

It forecast 2021 adjusted profit of between $9.40 and $9.60 per share, compared with analysts' estimates of $8.99 per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv. 

The company's fourth-quarter profit fell 56.7% to $1.74 billion after recording litigation expenses of $2.9 billion in the fourth quarter. 

J&J faces a litany of lawsuits over its marketing of opioids, its pelvic meshes and body powders. 

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.86 per share, beating estimates of $1.82 per share. 

The company's fourth-quarter sales rose to $22.48 billion from $20.75 billion, helped by higher demand for cancer drugs.