J&J Clinches $1 Billion US Vaccine Supply Deal

06.08.2020 - Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has struck a deal with the US government worth just over $1 billion to supply 100 million doses of subsidiary Janssen’s SARS-CoV-2 investigational vaccine, Ad26.COV2.S. The terms apply solely to manufacturing of the vaccine in the US but the company suggests it could be distributed worldwide.

Janssen plans to deliver the vaccine as soon as it is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) under an Emergency Use Authorization. The government also has an option to buy an additional 200 million doses under a separate agreement. J&J is receiving $456 million in funding to support R&D and manufacturing scale-up.

Funds for the vaccine development are being advanced by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) in collaboration with the Department of Defense. For the duration of the pandemic, J&J and AZ as well as the partnership od Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline have pledged to provide their vaccines under a not-for-profit basis.

The cost of the J&J vaccine dose breaks down to about $10 each, which reports say compares with $4 for AstraZeneca’s (AZ) vaccine and $19.50 for the shot made by Pfizer and BioNTech under their respective pacts with the government. The company is evaluating one- and two-dose regimens. Moderna is charging charging $32-37 per dose for small volume purchases.

New Jersey-based J&J started a phase 1/2a study in Belgium in mid-July, which was opened a week later for US participants. Human trials in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Japan are to follow.

The largest diversified US healthcare company expects initial human results from the first trial in September and said it could start phase 3 efficacy testing the same month.  Last month, J&J said it could have data available before the end of 2020 or early 2021, with vaccinations beginning shortly afterward.

The healthcare giant said its goal is to supply more than one billion doses globally through the course of 2021, provided the vaccine is deemed to be safe and effective. Its vaccine program leverages Janssen’s AdVac technology, which was used to develop an EU-approved Ebola vaccine and to construct its HIV, RSV and Zika vaccine candidates.