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Johnson & Johnson Taps Emergent BioSolutions to Help Manufacture Its COVID-19 Vaccine

By Brian Orelli, PhD – Apr 23, 2020 at 9:37PM

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The contract is worth $135 million to Emergent BioSolutions.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ -0.71%) signed a contract to pay Emergent BioSolutions (EBS 1.01%) $135 million to help manufacture its vaccine to treat COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

In addition to developing its own drugs aimed at combating bioterrorism and emerging infectious diseases, including COVID-19, Emergent BioSolutions has a contract manufacturing division that makes drugs for other companies. Last month, the company announced that it was working with Novavax to develop its COVID-19 vaccine.

Johnson & Johnson's vaccine hasn't even entered clinical trials: The study is scheduled to start in September with initial supply for the phase 1 clinical trial to come from Johnson & Johnson's manufacturing facility in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Gloved hands giving an injection into a patient's shoulder

Image source: Getty Images.

But the deal with Emergent BioSolutions is clearly a sign that Johnson & Johnson is trying to get ahead of its goal of having 1 billion doses available. Emergent BioSolutions will begin manufacturing Johnson & Johnson's vaccine this year, well ahead of any potential approval, and Emergent BioSolutions plans to reserve large-scale manufacturing capacity to make the vaccine next year.

Johnson & Johnson noted that the deal with Emergent BioSolutions was just the "first in a series of anticipated strategic collaborations" to meet the global supply of its vaccine.

"We have set a high bar. Johnson & Johnson has committed to rapidly produce and supply more than one billion doses of a safe and effective vaccine globally," said Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer at Johnson & Johnson, in a statement.

Perhaps Johnson & Johnson should hit up Pfizer (PFE -0.91%), which has committed its manufacturing capabilities for therapies or vaccines to treat or prevent the disease. Pfizer is also developing a vaccine of its own in conjunction with BioNTech.

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

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Stocks Mentioned

Johnson & Johnson Stock Quote
Johnson & Johnson
$163.36 (-0.71%) $-1.17
Emergent BioSolutions Inc. Stock Quote
Emergent BioSolutions Inc.
$20.99 (1.01%) $0.21
Pfizer Inc. Stock Quote
Pfizer Inc.
$43.76 (-0.91%) $0.40
Novavax, Inc. Stock Quote
Novavax, Inc.
$18.20 (-1.99%) $0.37

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