Pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) together committed more than $1 billion to novel coronavirus vaccine research and development. It is being developed by Janssen Vaccines & Prevention in Leiden,a subsidiary of American pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson.
Alex Gorsky, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said,
The world is facing an urgent public health crisis, and we are committed to doing our part to make a COVID-19 vaccine available and affordable globally as quickly as possible.
The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021.
Furthermore, Johnson & Johnson will use its validated vaccine platform and is allocating resources, including personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts. Also, BARDA and the company have provided additional funding that will enable the expansion of their ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatments against the novel coronavirus.
The additional capacity will assist in the rapid production of a vaccine and will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally. It’s worth mentioning that Janssen Vaccines & Prevention started researching a COVID-19 vaccine in January when the genetic code of the virus was discovered.
The COVID-19 vaccine program is leveraging Janssen’s proven AdVac and PER.C6 technologies that provide the ability to rapidly develop new vaccine candidates and upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate.
The same technology was used to develop and manufacture the Company’s Ebola vaccine and construct our Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccine candidates who are in Phase 2 or Phase 3 clinical development stages.
Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson, said:
“We greatly value the U.S. government’s confidence and support for our R&D efforts. Johnson & Johnson’s global team of experts has ramped up our research and development processes to unprecedented levels, and our teams are working tirelessly alongside BARDA, scientific partners, and global health authorities. We are very pleased to have identified a lead vaccine candidate from the constructs we have been working on since January.”
In addition to the vaccine development efforts, BARDA and Johnson & Johnson have also expanded their partnership to accelerate Janssen’s ongoing work in screening compound libraries, including compounds from other pharmaceutical companies. These antiviral screening efforts are being conducted in partnership with the Rega Institute for Medical Research (KU Leuven/University of Leuven) in Belgium.
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