Hyderabad firm ties up to produce J&J's vaccine candidate in India
Hyderabad: Biological E. Limited, India’s oldest biological products company, said on Thursday that it has tied up US-based Johnson & Johnson to manufacture the latter’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate in India.
“We are very pleased indeed to collaborate with an organisation like Johnson & Johnson. Given the magnitude of the Covid-19 pandemic, our ability to mount an effective response will be predicated on the ability to supply the vaccine globally and in significant quantities. This is best achieved through collaboration,” said Mahima Datla, the managing director of BE.
J&J is developing a vaccine candidate ‘Ad26.COV2.S’ for Coronavirus through its pharmaceutical arm Janssen Pharmaceutica NV. The vaccine candidate is currently in Phase 1/2a clinical trials.
The phase 1/2a study will involve more than 1,000 adults aged between 18 and 55. The study will also include an arm testing the vaccine in people 65 and older. Human trials in the Netherlands, Spain, Germany and Japan will follow.
Johnson & Johnson chief scientific officer Paul Stoffels had told a conference call last month that the company expects initial human results in September and phase 3 efficacy testing could start the same month itself. “The vaccine could be ready by early 2021,” he said.
The tie-up with Biological E. would help J&J to ramp its manufacturing capabilities in India.
“We look forward to deploying our manufacturing infrastructure to support Johnson & Johnson’s commitment to global access for its COVID-19 vaccine,” said Narender Dev Mantena, Director of BioE Holdings Inc., who heads BE’s novel vaccine initiative.
According to the World Health Organisation data, people around the world are working on 42 vaccine candidates for Coronavirus, including two from India, which are at different stages of development.
“Six vaccine candidates are in phase-3 trials, two candidates in phase 2 trials. Ten vaccine candidates, including two being developed in India, are at phase ½,” claims the WHO data as on August 10.