Johnson & Johnson provided a broad outline of how its vaccine development program against the novel coronavirus is progressing, as well as specifying that it has selected its lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The company has been working on multiple candidates since January 2020 and has selected its lead, which it aims to enter into human clinical studies by September 2020, at the latest. In addition to its lead, J&J has also selected two ‘back-up’ candidates.
According to the company’s estimates, this could see the vaccine candidate be available for emergency use in early 2021, should the trials prove successful.
In order to speed the vaccine to potential emergency use in the space of a year, when the usual development program can take five to seven years, the company has partnered with the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).
The two partners will commit a total of $1bn (€906m) into vaccine research, development, and clinical testing.
As part of its individual commitment, J&J will expand its global manufacturing capacity for any potential vaccines through the development of additional vaccine manufacturing capabilities. It will also scale up its production capacity in other countries.
The company aims to enable the ‘rapid production’ of any vaccine to more than one billion doses, to be made available globally. Further than this, J&J has committed to producing the vaccine immediately ‘at risk’ to secure supply prior to its potential emergency use.
J&J stated that any developed vaccine would be ‘affordable’ and be brought to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.