Johnson & Johnson secured more than $1 billion in additional funding for its COVID-19 vaccine research through an expansion of its partnership with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Over the weekend, life sciences giant J&J said BARDA will provide an additional $454 million to the Phase III ENSEMBLE trial evaluating the company’s investigational vaccine for the novel coronavirus. These funds are on top of additional funding of more than $1 billion the company previously received from the federal government for the development of the COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The federal dollars will be paired with $604 million invested by J&J pharmaceutical subsidiary Janssen. The finances will be used to continue the late-stage study of the company’s single-dose vaccine treatment in up to 60,000 volunteers across the globe.
J&Js experimental vaccine JNJ-78436735 began Phase III testing in September. However, in October, the trial was briefly paused following an “unexplained illness” in a trial participant. The trial resumed later that month after the independent Data Safety and Monitoring Board recommended the trial resume. The company said there was no evidence that its experimental vaccine was the cause of the unexplained illness in the patient.
J&J’s Ad26.COV2-S is an investigational SARS-CoV-2 vaccine built using the AdVac recombinant technology. The AdVac and PER.C6 technology have been used to develop and manufacture the company’s Ebola vaccine as well as to develop its vaccine candidates for Zika, RSV and HIV.