Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) said today that its Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen Vaccines & Prevention B.V received a $44.7 million award and collaborative partnership from the US Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to support its development of an investigational Ebola vaccine regimen.
The deal comes with an option for BARDA to provide additional funding over 5 years to help develop and potentially license the Ebola vaccine candidate, J&J said. The vaccine includes an initial dose to prime the immune system to develop immune responses, followed by a booster dose to strengthen and optimize the duration of the response, the company said.
“Developing effective Ebola vaccines will be critical if we are to combat potential future outbreaks and protect frontline healthcare workers as well as the families and friends of Ebola victims. This award underscores the importance of public-private partnerships in tackling global health challenges. Our effort to accelerate the development of Janssen’s Ebola vaccine candidate to date would not have been possible without support from a wide range of global funders, including the National Institutes of Health, Europe’s Innovative Medicines Initiative, and the U.S. Department of Defense,” J&J chief scientific officer Dr. Paul Stoffels said in a prepared statement.
Janssen said it 1st began working on an Ebola vaccine in collaboration with the NIH, with development accelerating during the 2014-2016 outbreak in West Africa through an additional commitment of $200 million from the company and an additional $117m (EU €100 million) in grants from the IMI/European Commission.
“History teaches us that Ebola will return – as we recently saw in the Democratic Republic of Congo. These ongoing outbreaks demonstrate the importance of disease surveillance and management, the value of strong health systems, and the need to finish the job of developing safe and effective vaccines to help protect communities and prevent a resurgence of the virus. It is within our power, working in partnership, to prevent a future pandemic,” Peter Piot of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said in a prepared release.
A total of 11 phase 1, 2 and 3 clinical studies of the vaccine are underway across the US, Africa and Europe, the company said.
“Never before has Johnson & Johnson mobilized resources so rapidly to accelerate a vaccine candidate – supporting the initiation of multiple clinical trials across 3 continents in just 1 year. Thankfully, the Ebola crisis in West Africa is over, but we and other vaccine manufacturers remain determined to ensure that Ebola vaccines are successfully developed and made available to the world,” Janssen global head of infectious diseases & vaccines Dr. Johan Van Hoof said in a press release.