* Raises low end of 2017 revenue forecast range
* Q2 Remicade sales fall 14 pct
* Pharmaceutical sales miss estimates for 3rd straight qtr - RBC
* Shares rise 1.3 pct premarket (Adds analyst comments; updates shares)
July 18 (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday raised its full-year profit forecast and reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by strong demand for its newer products such as cancer drug Darzalex.
J&J is banking on newer pharmaceutical products to reaccelerate growth and to counter slowing demand for some of the company's key products, including its top-selling Remicade treatment and diabetes drug Invokana.
"We are optimistic that the investments we are making will accelerate our sales growth in the second half of this year," Chief Executive Alex Gorsky said in a statement.
The diversified healthcare company, which completed its $30 billion acquisition of Swiss biotech Actelion last month, raised its 2017 profit forecast to a range of $7.12 to $7.22 per share, from $7.00 to $7.15.
Excluding special items, the Band-Aid maker earned $1.83 per share in the second quarter, beating analysts' estimates by 3 cents.
J&J is the first among major pharmaceutical companies to report its quarterly results, and the report comes a day after a second Republican effort to pass healthcare legislation in the Senate collapsed.
While sales in J&J's consumer and medical device divisions rose despite a negative currency impact, demand for pharmaceutical products - its largest business - fell marginally to $8.6 billion.
Sales of Remicade, which is used to treat various autoimmune disorders, fell 14 percent to $1.53 billion in the second quarter, hurt by competition.
This is the third quarter in a row that J&J's pharmaceutical sales have fallen short of estimates, RBC Capital analysts said in a research note.
However, "... there appears to be a light at the end of the tunnel," BMO Capital Markets analyst Joanne Wuensch said, citing Darzalex's expanded label and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's recent nod for J&J's potential blockbuster psoriasis treatment, Tremfya.
J&J reported total sales of $18.84 billion for the second quarter, missing the average analyst estimate of $18.95 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company also raised the low end of its full-year revenue forecast range to $75.8 billion from $75.4 billion. It, however, kept the top end of the range unchanged at $76.1 billion.
J&J's shares were up 1.3 percent at $133.90 in premarket trading. (Reporting by Divya Grover and Natalie Grover in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)