Johnson & Johnson announces lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Johnson & Johnson today announced the selection of a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from constructs it had been working on since January 2020, with expected initiation of human clinical studies by September 2020 at the latest.
The company expects the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use authorization in early 2021, an accelerated timeframe in comparison with the typical vaccine development process. The company has scaled its manufacturing capacity with the goal of providing a billion doses of a vaccine globally, according to a company press release.
Efforts to research potential vaccine candidates began in January 2020 as soon as the COVID-19 sequence became available. Through this research, Johnson & Johnson identified a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate and two backups, which will progress into the first manufacturing steps. The company aims to initiate a phase 1 clinical study in September 2020 and have clinical data on safety and efficacy available by the end of the year. This could possibly allow emergency use authorization of the vaccine by early 2021.
Through an expansion of an existing partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a $1 billion investment has been made to co-fund vaccine research, development and clinical testing. Johnson & Johnson will use it validated vaccine platform and will allocate resources, including personnel and global infrastructure, to focus on these efforts. BARDA has provided additional funding to expand ongoing work to identify potential antiviral treatment against the novel coronavirus.
In addition to vaccine development, BARDA and Johnson & Johnson have expanded their partnership to accelerate Janssen’s ongoing work in screening compound libraries. The company aims to identify potential treatments against the novel coronavirus and both Johnson & Johnson and BARDA are providing funding as part of this partnership.