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Johnson & Johnson Says Late-Stage Coronavirus Vaccine Trials Moved Ahead To September

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Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) said Thursday it would begin late-stage human trials for its COVID-19 vaccine ahead of schedule in September, with the phase one trials involving 1,000 people set to begin next week.

What Happened

The New Jersey-based company's Chief Scientific Officer, Paul Stoffels, disclosed in an earnings call that it had seen strong preclinical data for the coronavirus vaccine candidates. He said that Johnson & Johnson was "very comfortable" in beginning the phase 1 trial later this month.

"This represents an acceleration of our [timeline] from our original date of September to the end of July. These studies will establish both the safety and immunogenicity of our vaccine candidate as well as evaluate the single dose and the booster dose regimen," Stoffels added.

The Phase 1 study will be conducted in Japan, while the pharmaceutical giant is planning on Phase 2 testing in the Netherlands, Spain, and Germany.

Johnson & Johnson said it is capable of making 600 million to 900 million doses of the vaccine in 2021 if the trials are successful.

Why It Matters

World Health Organization indicates that there are more than 100 vaccines currently under development for COVID-19, of which 23 are currently seeing clinical trials, CNBC reported.

Earlier this week, a senior functionary of the Trump administration revealed that health officials and drugmakers expect the production of a vaccine to begin by the end of the summer in the United States.

Moderna Inc's (NASDAQ: MRNA) vaccine candidate is also set to begin late-stage human trials later this month, while the Food and Drug Administration is fast-tracking two candidates from Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE) and its German partner BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX).

Price Action

Johnson & Johnson shares traded 0.2% higher at $149.60 in the pre-market session on Friday.

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