eyeforpharma Barcelona Conference VIRTUAL

Mar 30, 2020 - Apr 3, 2020, Barcelona

FREE TO ATTEND: Where pharma comes to life. The biggest and most important commercial pharma event in the world with over 2000 attendees across marketing, patient engagement, clinical, market access, medical affairs, commercial excellence, RWE, patient advocacy and digital health.

Leading the hunt for a COVID-19 vaccine

J&J gives the inside track on the search for a COVID-19 vaccine at eyeforpharma’s Barcelona conference



 

Paul Stoffels, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, has given delegates at eyeforpharma’s Barcelona Virtual conference exclusive insights into its rapid progress in the search for a vaccine to the COVID-19 virus.

 

Speaking to Reuters News on day two of the five-day conference, Stoffels said J&J’s potential vaccine, which has just been chosen as a lead candidate to help tackle the pandemic, could be ready for clinical trials as soon as early September with evidence of its safety and efficacy expected by the end of the year. 

 

This means that the first vaccinations could be given in the first quarter of 2021.

 

J&J hopes to have developed millions of batches by then, enabling vaccines for high-risk people under emergency use, Stoffels added.

 

The company is also expanding the its global manufacturing capacity to assist in the rapid production of a vaccine that will enable the supply of more than one billion doses of the vaccine globally. J&J said it would do this on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.

 

Extensive testing

In the interview with Alex Threlfall, Reuters Editor at Large, Stoffels expressed high confidence in the vaccine’s potential.  “We have done this several times with HIV, RSV, Zika and Ebola. Four times we have been able to use the vector, inserting the right piece of DNA coding for the particular antigen for that disease. We have vaccinated 50,000 people so far in these four diseases.

 

“Now we only have to change the vector where we replace the code with the COVID-19 antigen. We have tested it extensively in animals. We have shown we have good metabolising antibodies and are ready kick it off.”

 

The endeavour was far from being a moonshot, he said. “It has already been extensively tested, that helps a lot. It is a non-replicating vector, not a live virus. We are injecting a biological which is safe and we have seen that already in large clinical trials. We have already had interactions with the European as well as the US authorities and they clearly support that concept.”

 

“We know we have the capabilities. You can compare this to an assembly line for cars where you put a new model on the assembly line to get to the outcome.”

 

Hand in glove

J&J’s research team has been working in close partnership with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, part of Harvard Medical School to get to this point, combining more than 100 researchers, Stoffel explained “We work hand in glove. That is why we have been able to do this in 12 weeks.”

 

In parallel with his efforts to steer the vaccine development, Stofels said he was also working with partners across pharma and healthcare to help ensure vital ongoing clinical trials could continue on the face of disruption from the pandemic.

 

“There are lots of people with cancer in clinical trials. We need to make sure we build up a system to help these people continue their experimental medicine. For many of them it is life saving. There is a lot of partnership happening here.”

 

The interview is available to view on demand by delegates who can sign up to the free conference at here.

 

 


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eyeforpharma Barcelona Conference VIRTUAL

Mar 30, 2020 - Apr 3, 2020, Barcelona

FREE TO ATTEND: Where pharma comes to life. The biggest and most important commercial pharma event in the world with over 2000 attendees across marketing, patient engagement, clinical, market access, medical affairs, commercial excellence, RWE, patient advocacy and digital health.

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