Johnson & Johnson selects lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate to develop

Johnson & Johnson has selected a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate from the constructs it has been working on since January.

Moreover, the company has expanded its existing partnership with its Janssen division and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

The company is also rapidly scaling up its manufacturing capacity with the aim of providing global supply of more than one billion doses of a vaccine.

Johnson and Johnson expected to initiate human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021.

Find the right vaccine candidate

Johnson & Johnson began efforts in January 2020, as soon as the novel coronavirus became available, to research potential vaccine candidates.

Research teams at Janssen, in collaboration with Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Centre, part of Harvard Medical School, constructed and tested multiple vaccine candidates using the Janssen AdVac technology.

Through collaborations with scientists at multiple academic institutions, the vaccine constructs were then tested to identify those with the most promise in producing an immune response in preclinical testing.

Based on this work, Johnson & Johnson has identified a led COVID-19 vaccine candidate (with two back-ups), which will progress into the first manufacturing steps.

Under an accelerated timeline, the Company is aiming to initiate a Phase 1 clinical study in September 2020, with clinical data on safety and efficacy expected to be available by the end of the year. This could allow vaccine availability for emergency use in early 2021.

For comparison, the typical vaccine development process involves a number of different research stages, spanning 5 to 7 years, before a candidate is even considered for approval.

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