Biological E ties up with Janssen Pharmaceutica NV for Covid-19 vaccine

Daniel Fowler
August 15, 2020

Novavax's vaccine candidate has been selected to be part of Operation Warp Speed (OWS), a USA government program that seeks to begin supplying millions of doses of a safe, effective vaccine for COVID-19 in 2021.

The government will buy potential Covid-19 vaccines from U.S. drugmakers Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, the companies said yesterday, boosting the number of deals it has with drugmakers as the global vaccine race rages on.

London, Aug 14 (SocialNews.XYZ) The UK government has entered into agreements with two drug makers for purchasing their potential Covid-19 vaccine doses, the companies said on Friday.

Alex Harris, head of global policy at the Wellcome Trust health charity, said the deals put the Britain in a strong position, and urged the government to explain how it will now ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for poorer countries too.

"We are honored to partner with the United Kingdom government to deliver a vaccine that could provide vital protection in the fight against the global health crisis", said Novavax Chief Executive Stanley Erck. These include the University of Oxford's vaccine being developed with AstraZeneca, as well as agreements with the BioNTech/Pfizer alliance, Valneva and GSK/Sanofi Pasteur.

The Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that ministers have also agreed in principle to co-fund a "ground-breaking" global clinical study of the Janssen vaccine.

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The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has invested up to $384 million to help develop and produce Novavax's COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

As part of the pact, J&J will be transferring the technology for manufacturing its Covid-19 vaccine candidate to Hyderabad-based Bio E. The vaccine is based on technology used in its recently approved preventative Ebola vaccine created to induce long-term immunity in individuals over one years' old.

None of the six animals that received a single immunisation with the vaccine showed any detectable virus in their lower respiratory tract after exposure to SARS-CoV-2, the virus which causes COVID-19.

In an early-stage trial, Novavax's vaccine candidate, NVX-CoV2373, has produced higher levels of antibodies in healthy volunteers after two doses than those found in recovered COVID-19 patients and the vaccine was "well tolerated" overall. This will ensure that, once available, the vaccine can be supplied to the British public as soon as possible, BEIS said. SK bioscience, using its cell culture and recombinant protein capability, will initiate the production of the NVX-CoV2373 antigen at its vaccine facility in Andong L-house, South Korea beginning in August 2020.

Aiming to get 500,000 people signed up by the end of October, this would provide scientists and regulators the assurances they need that vaccines secured are safe and effective for use.

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