Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Johnson & Johnson Expands Pact With U.S. Government to Seek a Treatment for COVID-19

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Feb 18, 2020 at 12:00PM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

The government is also supporting the pharmaceutical giant's efforts to find a vaccine for the coronavirus.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ 0.33%) and the federal government are expanding their research partnership relating to COVID-19. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) was already supporting Johnson & Johnson's efforts to find a vaccine that could protect people from the coronavirus. Now, it will also support the company's attempt to develop antiviral medications that could help people already infected with it.

The company's Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary already has a library of antiviral compounds that it can screen to see if they could potentially be active against COVID-19. Janssen is partnering with Rega Institute for Medical Research in Belgium to perform the screening.

People in the sidewalk with face masks on

Image source: Getty Images.

Janssen and BARDA will split the cost of research and development for the project, although no specific financial terms of the deal were disclosed. Johnson & Johnson had already announced a few weeks ago that it was planning on screening the library, so any extra government funding for the effort will be a bonus.

Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 efforts trail those of Gilead Sciences (GILD -1.43%), which has already started testing its antiviral remdesivir in patients with initial signs of success. Gilead was able to move the drug into human trials quickly because it had already been tested in Ebola patients, although it didn't work against that virus.

In addition to its efforts to discover an antiviral treatment and a vaccine, Johnson & Johnson has also donated its HIV drug Prezcobix to researchers in China to see if the protease inhibitor in the medication could have an antiviral effect against COVID-19. Protease inhibitors have previously been shown to have some efficacy against SARS, a respiratory disease caused by a different coronavirus.

Brian Orelli has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Gilead Sciences. The Motley Fool recommends Johnson & Johnson. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Stocks Mentioned

Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$166.72 (0.33%) $0.54
Gilead Sciences, Inc. Stock Quote
Gilead Sciences, Inc.
$62.86 (-1.43%) $0.91

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/25/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.