Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ) announced on Tuesday afternoon that subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceutical will be working together with the U.S. government to expedite the development of a coronavirus vaccine. Specifically, the company will be working with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), which is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Both Janssen and BARDA will be funding the research and development (R&D) costs to develop a vaccine at an accelerated rate. Specifically, BARDA will provide funding to support phase 1 studies of Janssen's potential coronavirus candidates, with additional funding to be given once a promising candidate is identified.
"We are also in discussions with other partners, that if we have a vaccine candidate with potential, we aim to make it accessible to China and other parts of the world," said Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer for Johnson & Johnson, in an official statement.
The coronavirus, which the World Health Organization today officially designated as COVID-19, has already claimed over 1,110 lives, with 44,836 confirmed cases around the world.
Other biotech and healthcare companies have been partnering with government organizations as well. Moderna is currently working on developing an mRNA-based vaccine that it soon plans to send to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for further clinical testing. Gilead is also working on a treatment, repurposing its former Ebola drug, remdesivir, to help treat symptoms in coronavirus patients. The drug was slated to begin human trials in China this week.