Emergent BioSolutions, Johnson & Johnson Sign Virus-Vaccine Accord

Emergent BioSolutions and Johnson & Johnson signed a $135 million accord to produce J&J's lead candidate for a vaccine against coronavirus.
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Emergent BioSolutions  (EBS) - Get Report said it signed a $135 million agreement to support production of Johnson & Johnson’s  (JNJ) - Get Report lead vaccine candidate for the coronavirus.

Shares of Emergent, Gaithersburg, Md., at last check were surging 8.2% to $72. J&J shares eased 0.9% to $154.07.

Johnson & Johnson, the New Brunswick, N.J., healthcare icon, said its goal was to supply more than one billion doses of the vaccine globally. 

The company said it has begun preparing to produce vaccine at its facility in Leiden, Netherlands, and aims to start Phase I clinical studies of its vaccine candidate on humans in September. 

Johnson & Johnson said it was also aiming to rapidly scale up vaccine manufacturing capabilities globally, including increasing capacity in countries outside the U.S. 

Under the agreement, Emergent said it would provide manufacturing services and reserve large-scale manufacturing capacity. 

Large-scale production of drug substances for the vaccine candidate will be done at Emergent’s Baltimore Bayview facility.

“When mission-driven organizations combine talents and capabilities, potential solutions to serious issues like covid-19 become more within reach to benefit patients," Robert G. Kramer Sr., Emergent's president and CEO, said in a statement. 

Last month, J&J said it had identified a leading coronavirus vaccine candidate. The company said the vaccine was developed in partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is a division of the J&J group, and the U.S Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority.

The company on Tuesday posted stronger-than-expected first-quarter earnings but trimmed its full-year profit guidance amid the coronavirus pandemic.

J&J and the U.S. government are investing $1 billion to create enough manufacturing capacity for the experimental vaccine candidate to stop the virus. More than 20 companies are working on a vaccine for the deadly disease.