Novavax, J&J Ink Covid-19 Vaccine Deals With U.K. -- Update
By Jonathan D. Rockoff and Jared S. Hopkins
Novavax Inc. and Johnson & Johnson said Friday they have
agreed to provide tens of millions of doses of their experimental
coronavirus vaccines to the U.K. for undisclosed sums, as countries
move to secure supplies of the shots.
Under the terms, the U.K. will fund a late-stage trial of
Novavax's vaccine candidate starting this quarter evaluating the
shot in the country's residents, and a contract manufacturer will
make a key part of the vaccine at a plant in Stockton-on-Tees in
northeast England, the company said Friday.
The contract manufacturer, a partnership between Fujifilm Corp.
and Mitsubishi Corp., named Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies, will
also make extra supplies that Novavax could provide in other
markets, the vaccine maker said.
"It is encouraging that Novavax's recent clinical data shows
their vaccine triggers an immune response greater than that in
patients who have recovered from the disease," said Kate Bingham,
chair of the U.K. government's vaccines task force.
In a small number of healthy volunteers in early-stage testing,
the Novavax vaccine generated promising immune responses and was
Meanwhile, Johnson & Johnson said that the company agreed in
principle to provide 30 million doses, with the option for an
additional purchase of up to 22 million doses. The U.K. government
also agreed to work with the company on a late-stage study testing
its vaccine as a two-dose regimen, according to J&J.
"Ending the current COVID-19 pandemic will take a global effort,
and this agreement is an important example of how we can begin to
address this significant challenge through collaborative research,"
J&J Chief Scientific Officer Paul Stoffels said.
J&J began testing its vaccine in a small number of healthy
volunteers last month, and a late-stage trial of the vaccine as a
single shot could begin this fall.
The vaccines are among the most advanced in development, though
not as far along as shots under development by companies including
AstraZeneca PLC, Moderna Inc. and a partnership between Pfizer Inc.
and BioNTech SE.
This week, Russia said it was clearing a homegrown vaccine for
use by its general public, though researchers expressed concerns
about the adequacy of evidence supporting the shot's safety and
The U.K., the U.S. and other countries have been reaching deals
worth billions of dollars with companies developing the vaccines to
lock in doses should the shots prove to work safely.
The U.K. last month struck a deal with Pfizer and BioNTech for
30 million doses, after agreeing to pay AstraZeneca for 100 million
doses of a vaccine the company developed with the University of
The U.K. government is also set to receive 60 million doses of
an experimental vaccine under development by Valneva SE of
Novavax, of Gaithersburg, Md., was founded in 1987 but doesn't
have any products on the market. Its coronavirus vaccine is
expected to require two shots. It is scheduled to begin mid-stage,
or Phase 2, testing this month.
The company has now struck several deals with governments,
companies and foundations that would see its vaccine distributed in
South Korea, Japan and India, among other places.
The U.S. agreed to pay up to $1.6 billion to Novavax to fund the
final stage, or Phase 3, of testing of the company's vaccine and
obtain 100 million doses.
As part of the U.K. deal, Novavax said it would study the
vaccine in about 9,000 adults ages 18 years to 85 years in the
country, and if successful, the company would begin supplying doses
as early as the first quarter of next year.
"We are honored to partner with the U.K. government to deliver a
vaccine that could provide vital protection in the fight against
the global health crisis," said Novavax Chief Executive Stanley
Fujifilm's plant in Billingham, Stockton-on-Tees, will make the
part of Novavax's vaccine, known as an antigen, that generates an
immune response. The plant will eventually produce about 180
million doses of the antigen a year, Novavax said.
Write to Jonathan D. Rockoff at Jonathan.Rockoff@wsj.com and
Jared S. Hopkins at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
August 14, 2020 10:13 ET (14:13 GMT)
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