Johnson & Johnson announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies will further expedite its investigational coronavirus vaccine program through an expanded collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
The collaborative partnership with BARDA builds on Johnson & Johnson’s multipronged response to the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. In addition to Janssen’s efforts to develop a vaccine candidate, the Company is working closely with global partners to screen its library of antiviral molecules to accelerate the discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments and provide relief for people in China and around the world.
“Developing an effective vaccine will be critical if we are to protect people against the novel coronavirus and combat future outbreaks,” said Paul Stoffels, M.D., Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson. “This partnership will ensure that vital research is made possible at rapid speed and underscores the importance of public-private partnerships to tackle the worldwide novel coronavirus epidemic. We are also in discussions with other partners, that if we have a vaccine candidate with potential, we aim to make it accessible to China and other parts of the world.”
Through this agreement, created under an existing U.S. Government’s Other Transaction Authority, (HHSO100201700018C), Janssen and BARDA will both contribute to the research and development costs and mobilize resources to rapidly advance the initial stages of Janssen’s COVID-19 vaccine development program. BARDA will provide funding to support accelerated development of a vaccine candidate into Phase 1 clinical studies, with options for additional funding to progress a promising candidate. In parallel, Janssen will work to upscale the production and manufacturing capacities required to meet public health needs. Janssen is committed to partnering with multiple stakeholders around the world to address the needs of communities around the world.
“By leveraging long-standing partnerships and proven technology, we can move rapidly to address emerging health threats like this novel coronavirus,” said BARDA Director Rick A. Bright, Ph.D. “We are committed to doing everything we can to protect the health of the people in the United States and across the globe.”
The vaccine program will leverage Janssen’s AdVac® and PER.C6® technologies that provide the ability to rapidly upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate. These are the same technologies that were used in the development and manufacturing of Janssen’s investigational Ebola vaccine, which is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. They were also used to construct the Company’s Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.
COVID-19 belongs to a group of viruses called coronaviruses that attack the respiratory system. There is currently no approved vaccine, treatment or cure for COVID-19.
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