J&J, U.S. government plan 1B COVID-19 vaccine doses

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J&J, U.S. government plan 1B COVID-19 vaccine doses

By Sandra Levy - 03/30/2020

Johnson & Johnson today announced that through a partnership with the U.S. government, it expects to be able to provide a global supply of more than 1 billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization by September 2021.

In making the announcement, J&J said that the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate comes from constructs it has been working on since January 2020.

The company expects to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate by September 2020.

The anticipation of the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine for use in early 2021 is a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison with the typical vaccine development process, the company said.

Through a landmark new partnership, BARDA, which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Johnson & Johnson together have committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development and clinical testing.

“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. As the world’s largest healthcare company, we feel a deep responsibility to improve the health of people around the world every day," J&J CEO Alex Gorsky said. "Johnson & Johnson is well positioned through our combination of scientific expertise, operational scale and financial strength to bring our resources in collaboration with others to accelerate the fight against this pandemic."

Johnson & Johnson, which will use its validated vaccine platform, is allocating such resources as personnel and infrastructure globally, as needed, to focus on these efforts. Separately, 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.

As part of its commitment, Johnson & Johnson also is expanding the company’s global manufacturing capacity, including through the establishment of new U.S. vaccine manufacturing capabilities, and scaling up capacity in other countries. 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. The company, which plans to begin production at risk imminently, said it is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

“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," said Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer, at Johnson & Johnson.