Vaccine developer Johnson & Johnson targeting 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine by March 2021
Merck says ‘we would not expect to have a licensed product until 2021 at the earliest’
The Facts Inside Our Reporter’s Notebook
A representative for Johnson & Johnson told a congressional committee on Tuesday that the company is hopeful a COVID-19 vaccine will be brought to market next year with 100 million doses produced by March.
Dr. Macaya Douoguih, head of Clinical Development and Medical Affairs at Janssen Vaccines of Johnson & Johnson, said she is “very much encouraged” by the company’s pre-clinical results and announced that their first clinical trial is starting this month.
“We will be starting our phase three in September. Now, it’s very difficult to say whether or not we will be lucky enough to have setup our sights in the right places to be able to get an answer and readout on efficacy – that’s certainly possible. But we’re targeting to at least have results by early 2021 as well as 100 million doses by the end of March,” she said during a hearing by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations of the Committee on Energy and Commerce.
In April, the company had said it could produce 600 to 900 million doses of the vaccine by April of 2021, assuming the trials go as planned.
The other manufacturers working on a COVID-19 vaccine were also asked at the hearing whether they are hopeful that a vaccine will be available to the public, at least on an emergency basis, by the end of the year.
“Yes we do. So if we have the efficacy data, we hope we’ll have them anytime between September onward,” said Dr. Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca.
Dr. Stephen Hoge, president of Moderna, a company that has not brought a vaccine to market in the past, was asked about his company’s timeline for bringing a COVID-19 vaccine to market.
“I think we’re optimistic, cautiously optimistic that the vaccine will be successful,” he said, without specifying a timeline.
John Young, chief business officer at Pfizer, said his company has “a lot” more work to do before the vaccine is ready for public use.
“We’re encouraged by the early data we’ve seen from our initial phase one study in terms of both safety and effectiveness,” he said, explaining that the information would be submitted to the FDA for approval this month. “So encouraging early signs but a lot more still to do.”
Dr. Julie Gerberding, executive vice president and chief patient officer at Merck, said, “We expect to be in clinical trials immediately for both of our products but we would not expect to have a licensed product until 2021 at the earliest.”