The Janssen COVID-19 vaccine candidate, JNJ-78436735 (also known as Ad.26.COV2.S), is a recombinant vector vaccine that uses a human adenovirus to express the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in cells. It uses the company’s existing AdVac technology platform, which was also used to develop and manufacture Janssen's recently approved Ebola vaccine and the Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccine candidates.
The COVID-19 vaccine candidate entered Phase 3 trials last month for a one dose regime, enrolling up to 60,000 people across the US, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Peru and South Africa. A separate trial for a two dose regime is set to follow in the UK later this year.
The European Commission says the agreement will cover 'up to 400 million people' - thus working on the basis of a one dose regime.
J&J has made supply agreements for its vaccine candidate with a number of other markets: including the US (100 million doses); UK (30 million doses with option for an additional 22 million doses); and Canada (38 million doses).
EU vaccine agreements mount up
The contract with Janssen represents the third COVID-19 vaccine agreement made by the European Commission. It has already made an agreement with AstraZeneca and with Sanofi-GSK: both for up to 300 million doses. It has also concluded ‘successful exploratory talks’ with CureVac, BioNTech-Pfizer and Moderna.
Advance Purchase Agreements with vaccine producers - such as this one with Janssen - reserve or give Member States the right to buy a given number of doses for a certain price; as and when a vaccine is approved and becomes available.
Stella Kyriakides, Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, said: “Ensuring a safe and effective vaccine is at the core of our European Vaccine Strategy. Today we have secured our third vaccine agreement, expanding our portfolio of vaccine candidates and therefore our chances to find an efficient remedy against the virus.
"More agreements will follow, and we remain determined in our search for a successful and safe vaccine to combat this deadly pandemic.”