- Johnson & Johnson will soon start production of its trial COVID-19 vaccine on an “at risk” basis
- This classification will allow J&J to develop this candidate vaccine and release it for public use more quickly
- “Our goal is to enable the supply of more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine globally,” said J&J
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in the United States soared to 613,886 as of 00:41 GMT (8:41 p.m. ET) Tuesday, along with 26,945 deaths. The increase in the number of deaths over the same time Monday stood 2,407, the second time the U.S. daily death toll has exceeded 2,000.
The U.S. on Tuesday was also the only country in the world to report more than 1,000 deaths. The United Kingdom (778 deaths), France and Italy came after the U.S. in the number of daily deaths. These dismal statistics came on the same day Johnson & Johnson, the world’s third largest pharmaceutical company, revealed plans to begin production of its trial COVID-19 vaccine on an “at risk” basis.
Manufacturing “at risk” will allow J&J to produce this coronavirus vaccine candidate and release it for public use more quickly. J&J said the vaccine will be produced as a not for profit inoculation.
“It’s for all of us,” said CFO Joe Wolk to Yahoo Finance. “It’s anything but business as usual. That is about advancing research and development.”
He said J&J will manufacture at risk to ensure it’s in a position to quickly flip the switch and be ready to go should clinical development and the trials prove successful. Wolk also said J&J will produce its COVID-19 vaccine both in The Netherlands and a facility in the United States now being remodeled.
“We plan to be first in human testing sometime in early September,” revealed Wolk. “Should things progress, we would have data read out in December and that would hopefully lead to an approval the early part of 2021.”
J&J Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said the company is negotiating with partners in Europe and Asia to produce the vaccine. These partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks.
“Our goal is to enable the supply of more than 1 billion doses of the vaccine globally,” according to Dr. Stoffels.
J&J said it began developing its candidate COVID-19 vaccine in early January along with its European subsidiary Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V. The companies are using the same biological platform Janssen uses in developmental vaccines for Ebola, Zika and influenza.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is partnering with Janssen Research and Development (JRD), a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research and Development to develop this vaccine.
J&J entered into a $1 billion partnership with the DHHS’ Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) to develop and manufacture the vaccine. DHHS said BARDA will provide “expertise and reallocated funds” to support the vaccine’s development.