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The Road to a Vaccine

The Road to a Vaccine

"Our goal is to ensure we can deliver a vaccine to the world and protect people everywhere from this pandemic"

Paul Stoffels

Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson

In January 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that it's Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies would work closely with multiple global partners to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic through development of a vaccine candidate as a priority and screening a library of compounds to determine whether previously tested medicines can be used to help patients survive COVID-19.   

In March 2020, it was announced that a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate had been identified (with two back-ups) from constructs that the Company had been working on since January. In addition, Johnson & Johnson announced the significant expansion of its landmark partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); as well as the expansion of the Company's manufacturing capacity and the ramping up of R&D processes to provide global access to its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate as soon as early 2021, provided the vaccine is effective with a good safety profile.

In June 2020, an acceleration of the Phase 1/2a first-in-human clinical trial of an investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was announced. Initially scheduled to begin in September, the trial would now commence in the second half of July with the Company anticipating the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine to be potentially available for emergency use in early 2021 subject to regulatory approval; a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparsion to the typical vaccine development process. 

In August 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced an agreement in principle between Janssen and UK Government to collaborate on a global Phase 3 clinical trial to explore its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. In addition, Janssen has agreed in principle to supply the UK Government with doses of its vaccine candidate, subject to its successful clinical development and regulatory approval. Read the full anouncement here.

The Company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use, should the vaccine candidate prove effective with a good safety profile.

Our Expertise in Pandemics

Our vaccine development programme leverages Janssen’s AdVac® technology that provides the ability to rapidly upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate. 

This is the same technology that is used in the development and manufacturing of our investigational Ebola vaccine, which is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, and was also used to construct our Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.

Our Collaborations

Johnson & Johnson is collaborating with governments, regulators, healthcare organisations, institutions and communities worldwide to help ensure our research platforms, existing science and outbreak expertise can be maximised to help stem this pandemic.

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

In the UK specifically, we are committed to supporting our existing partners and front line health workers during this pandemic.