US to pay Johnson and Johnson $1 billion for COVID-19 vaccine

pharmafile | August 6, 2020 | News story | Business Services COVID-19, J&J, JJ, Johnson and Johnson, coronavirus 

The US will pay Johnson and Johnson more than $1 billion to create 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

The US had previously given the company $456 million towards its development, and if it produces a successful vaccine, it will deliver it to the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to be distributed on a not-for-profit basis. The US can also order up to 200 million doses as part of the deal.

The company is using the same technology it used to create its Ebola vaccine which was utilised in fighting an outbreak of the disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2019.

This is the latest in a string of deals between the US and pharmaceutical companies. They recently announced a deal with drugmakers Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline for up to $2.1 billion for 100 million doses of their vaccine candidate, and in July the US also struck deals with Pfizer and BioNTech for doses of their vaccine candidate.

These were all agreed under the Operation Warp Speed program. It was unveiled in May, and likened to the Manhattan Project, America’s secret development of the atom bomb during the Second World War. It is hoping to accelerate the production of a vaccine to be made widely available across the country by the end of the year.

It is being led by Dr Moncef Slaoui the former head of GlaxoSmithKline’s vaccine division. During his time at GSK, Slaoui oversaw vaccine pipelines that produced Rotarix, used to prevent diarrhoea in infants, and Cervarix, used to protect against a viral infection that can lead to cervical cancer. He left the company in 2017 and joined the board of Moderna.

Operation Warp Speed will also be led by General Gustave Perna, a four-star US General, who has served as the Commander of the US Army Materiel Command, which manages the service’s supply chain across the world, since 2016. He was previously the Army’s deputy Chief of Staff.

Conor Kavanagh

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