NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ — March 13, 2020 /3BL Media/ — Johnson & Johnson today (Mar. 13) announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies have entered a collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to support the development of a preventive vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The parties have commenced preclinical testing of multiple vaccine prospects, with the aim to identify by the end of the month a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trials.
Janssen is optimistic that, in collaboration with multiple global strategic partners, it can initiate a Phase 1 clinical study of a potential vaccine candidate by the end of the year. In parallel to these efforts, Janssen is preparing to upscale production and manufacturing capacities to levels required to meet global public health vaccination needs.
“It is critical to work with the best scientific minds as we look to rapidly identify and develop solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak,” said Paul Stoffels, MD, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer, Johnson & Johnson. “We are grateful for talented and experienced collaboration partners like Dan Barouch and his team at BIDMC. By mobilizing our collective resources, we believe we can leverage the top science and cutting-edge capabilities to respond to this pandemic.”
Janssen’s vaccine program will use the Janssen AdVac® and PER.C6® technologies that provide the ability to rapidly upscale production of an optimal vaccine candidate. The company is leveraging its proven vaccine technology that it is also using to develop its investigational Ebola (which also utilizes its MVA-BN® technology), Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccines. Research and collaboration on preclinical work for our Zika and HIV vaccine candidates at the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center was foundational to developing these vaccines.
Dan Barouch, MD, PhD, director of the Center for Virology and Vaccine Research at BIDMC and the Ragon Institute, stated, “We are currently evaluating a series of potential vaccine candidates for COVID-19. This collaboration with Janssen is aimed at the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that would allow for rapid development, large-scale manufacturing, and global delivery.”
Dr. Barouch’s team is well-known for their work on the pathogenesis and immunology of viral infections and the development of vaccine strategies for global infectious diseases.
Johnson & Johnson’s efforts to expedite development and production of a vaccine are enhanced by the existing COVID-19 vaccine collaborations between Janssen and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the US Department of Health & Human Services.
In addition to Janssen’s efforts to develop a vaccine candidate, the company is working closely with global strategic partners to screen its library of antiviral molecules to accelerate the discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments and provide relief for people around the world.