Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Partners With Emergent Biosolutions (EBS) On COVID-19 Vaccine

By Amit Chowdhry ● April 24, 2020
  • Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced it signed a contract to pay Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS) $135 million to help in manufacturing a vaccine for treating COVID-19

Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) announced it signed a contract to pay Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS) $135 million to help in manufacturing a vaccine for treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS) is known for developing its own drugs aimed at fighting bioterrorism and infectious diseases.

But Emergent Biosolutions Inc (NYSE: EBS) also has a contract manufacturing arm of the company that makes drugs for third-parties. Last month, Emergent also said it was developing a COVID-19 vaccine through a partnership with Novavax as well.

In this case, the lead vaccine candidate for COVID-19 utilizes the AdVac and PER.C6 technologies from the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ).

As part of the agreement, Emergent will provide drug substance manufacturing services with its molecule-to-market CDMO offering, supported by investments from Johnson & Johnson starting this year. And Emergent will reserve certain large-scale manufacturing capacity to pave the way for commercial manufacturing of Janssen’s adenovirus-based COVID-19 vaccine beginning in 2021.

In order to support the Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) initiative aimed at supplying one billion doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, a long-term commercial manufacturing agreement is under negotiation for large-scale drug substance manufacturing anticipated to begin in 2021.

The large-scale manufacturing of drug substance for Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine candidate will be done at Emergent’s Baltimore Bayview facility, a Center for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing (CIADM) — which is designed for the rapid manufacturing of vaccines and treatments in large quantities during public health emergencies. Emergent’s CIADM is a result of a public-private partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

Emergent’s Bayview facility has capabilities across four independent suites to produce at clinical scale to get candidates rapidly into the clinic while at the same time scaling up to enable large-scale manufacturing to up to 4000L to prepare for production of commercial volumes to meet customer demand. And the CIADM has the capacity to produce tens to hundreds of millions of doses of vaccine on an annual basis, based on the platform technology being used.

Key Quotes:

“When mission-driven organizations combine talents and capabilities, potential solutions to serious issues like COVID-19 become more within reach to benefit patients. We are proud of our collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and are equally committed to our longstanding relationship with the U.S. government. At a time like this, we all need to be working together to achieve maximum results for public health. Emergent is committed to our mission – to protect and enhance life – by advancing our own therapies and helping partner companies advance their programs as well.”
-Robert G. Kramer Sr., president and chief executive officer of Emergent BioSolutions.

“Eight years ago, HHS invested in novel public-private partnerships to create three Centers for Innovation in Advanced Development and Manufacturing or CIADMs to help strengthen the nation’s biotech infrastructure to prepare and respond to emergencies. Leveraging the capacity available at the Bayview CIADM to speed development and manufacturing of COVID-19 vaccine is precisely how we envisioned these centers be used in pandemic response.”
-Gary Disbrow, Ph.D., acting director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority

“We share with our partners the same urgency to combat COVID-19 and will leverage our talents, capabilities, and capacities up to 300 million doses to advance this much-needed vaccine candidate and ensure ongoing commercial supply through our CDMO services.”  
-Syed T. Husain, senior vice president and CDMO business unit head at Emergent