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Johnson & Johnson's  (JNJ) - Get Johnson & Johnson Report science chief says the health-care giant could develop a vaccine for the fast-spreading coronavirus in a matter of months but may need as long as a year to bring it to market.

J&J has tasked dozens of scientists to work on a vaccine for the disease, Paul Stoffels, a physician who is the New Brunswick, N.J., company's chief scientific officer, told CNBC.

"We are pretty confident we can get something made that will work and will stay active for the longer term," Stoffels told the business-news network.

Credit Suisse has boosted its price target on J&J to $170 a share from $163 and affirmed an outperform rating on the stock.

J&J shares at last check were off 0.6% at $147.50, on a day when the Dow Jones Industrial Average, of which J&J is a member, was off more than 1.3%. 

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The market selloff reflects concern about the spread of the coronavirus and the potential damage to the global economy. In China the coronavirus has killed more than 80 people and infected thousands, and a number of countries have reported they have patients who've contracted or are being monitored for the disease.

Separately, Johnson & Johnson Chief Executive CEO Alex Gorsky is set to testify in a New Jersey court in the punitive-damages phase of a lawsuit. 

Three men and a woman  contend that they contracted mesothelioma, an incurable cancer, from their exposure as infants to asbestos in baby powder.

The plaintiffs were initially awarded $37.2 million and their lawyers are arguing that the health-care and pharma giant should pay punitive damages.

J&J has pushed back, arguing that there's no evidence of asbestos in its baby powder and that Gorsky should not be required to testify since the cases deal with issues dating back to long before he became CEO, in 2012.