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COVID-19 jab: EU signs contract with JNJ

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has inked a contract with the European Commission to supply 200 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to the European Union.

Both parties didn’t announce a price for the jab. However, according to JNJ’s deal with the US government, which ordered 100 million doses, the vaccine might cost something in the range of US$10 per dose.

At the end of September JNJ’s  subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals started global Phase III testing on 60,000 healthy volunteers. The company’s vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2.S leverages the AdVac technology platform, which was also used to develop and manufacture Janssen’s European Commission approved Ebola vaccine and construct its Zika, RSV, and HIV vaccine candidates. In contrast to other vaccine candidates only one dose of Ad26.COV2.S will be given to the volunteers.

Experte expect the company to report early efficacy results late this year or early next year. The deal with the European Commission provides an option for an additional 200 million doses.

Following AstraZeneca, JNJ also suspended its Phase III CovID 19 vaccine programme in mid-October due to a safety signal. In the United Kingdom, AstraZeneca has been allowed to resume pivotal testing. In the USA they are still suspended. A phase III therapeutics antibody study against viral proteins of Eli Lilly in the US government’s ACTIVE programme has also been suspended.

With the supply pact, officials in Europe have lined up more than 1 billion potential coronavirus vaccine doses. Under the German EU presidency, the bloc has also finalised talks with Moderna, CureVac, Novavax and Pfizer/BioNTech partnership for additional doses.