n 2020, a new strain of a group of viruses called coronaviruses—first detected in Wuhan, Hubei province, China—has turned into a global pandemic.
In response, Johnson & Johnson mobilised quickly to begin development of a preventative coronavirus vaccine with the potential to protect people against the disease.
The company has a long-standing commitment to fight emerging epidemics. We stand ready to support global efforts where it may make a difference. Developing preventive solutions for those who are most vulnerable to infectious diseases like these is our top priority. We have established technologies and facilities that enable us to create, test and scale up production for potentially transformational vaccines. Our experience in helping to address epidemics, coupled with our expertise in respiratory illnesses, uniquely positions us to address the latest coronavirus outbreak.
In January 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies would work closely with multiple global partners to combat the current COVID-19 pandemic through development of a vaccine candidate as a priority and screening a library of compounds to determine whether previously tested medicines can be used to help patients survive COVID-19.
In March 2020, it was announced that a lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate had been identified (with two back-ups) from constructs that the Company had been working on since January. In addition, Johnson & Johnson announced the significant expansion of its landmark partnership between the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA); as well as the expansion of the Company's manufacturing capacity and the ramping up of R&D processes to provide global access to its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate as soon as early 2021, provided the vaccine is effective with a good safety profile.
In June 2020, an acceleration of the Phase 1/2a first-in-human clinical trial of an investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine was announced. Initially scheduled to begin in September, the trial commenced in the second half of July with the Company anticipating the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine to be potentially available for emergency use in early 2021 subject to regulatory approval; a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process.
In August 2020, Johnson & Johnson announced an agreement in principle between Janssen and UK Government to collaborate on a global Phase 3 clinical trial to explore its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate. In addition, Janssen has agreed in principle to supply the UK Government with doses of its vaccine candidate, subject to its successful clinical development and regulatory approval.
The Company plans to begin production at risk imminently and is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use, should the vaccine candidate prove effective with a good safety profile.
Our vaccine development programme leverages Janssen’s AdVac® technology that provides the ability to rapidly upscale production of the optimal vaccine candidate.
This is the same technology that is used in the development and manufacturing of our investigational Ebola vaccine, which is currently deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Rwanda, and was also used to construct our Zika, RSV and HIV vaccine candidates.
Johnson & Johnson is collaborating with governments, regulators, healthcare organisations, institutions and communities worldwide to help ensure our research platforms, existing science and outbreak expertise can be maximised to help stem this pandemic.
Through a landmark new partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Johnson & Johnson has committed more than $1 billion of investment to co-fund vaccine research, development, and clinical testing. In addition to the vaccine development efforts, BARDA and Johnson & Johnson have also expanded their partnership to accelerate Janssen’s ongoing work in screening compound libraries, including compounds from other pharmaceutical companies.
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our first priority has been to support the safety and well-being of patients, customers, our employees and the communities in which we live and work.