JNJ Has Potential Coronavirus Vaccine -- But One Small Player Is Racing Against Drug-Making Giant

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Emergent BioSolutions  (EBS) - Get Report may be a small company up against the heavy hitters, but it has a plan for a coronavirus treatment, one indication that many players are taking their shot at a vaccine, as the world eagerly waits a solution.

Monday, Johnson & Johnson  (JNJ) - Get Report said it will start human testing of a vaccine for the Coronavirus as early as September. The company joins Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report, which the World Health Organization says is a front-runner in making a viable drug, in finding a solution to Covid-19.

Johnson & Johnson shares rose more than 6% Monday. 

But Emergent's product could begin to meaningfully accelerate by summer time, the company's CEO, Bob Kramer told TheStreet. The industry is looking to get "shots on goal," Kramer said, for a vaccine, maximizing the chances a viable one is released. Each player is incentivized to take their shot.  

The $2 billion market cap company, which brought in roughly $150 million in net income last year, has a strong track record, especially with Anthrax. 

Emergent's stock rose more than 4% Monday. 

Kramer specified that Emergent is partnering with two other companies to provide candidates that are potential vaccines, while the company is making its own therapies for the virus. 

Video Transcript: 

TheStreet’s Jacob Sonenshine:President Trump says there is testing for Corona virus therapies. We have CEO and president of emergent bio solutions. Bob Kramer, his company is jointly developing to COBIT 19 vaccines. Bob, thank you for being here.

Emergent’s Bob Kramer: How would you characterize, and I guess you can talk about the vaccine side of things and then the therapy side of things, how would you characterize, uh, the industry's position overall as to where it is in developing anything that can help right now?

Yeah. Well, first of all, let me say Jacob, that I think the private public partnership, uh, which has joined companies like emergent and many, many others with the U S government to bring forward vaccines, therapeutics, uh, diagnostic kits for testing purposes. I mean, I think that's where the strength of this response really needs to reside. Uh, and I, I couldn't be more proud of organizations like emergent and there are many out there, but, uh, in particular, our 1800 employee workforce, uh, is, uh, committed and dedicated to doing whatever we can, uh, in the areas of vaccines and therapeutic products and leveraging our, uh, nine manufacturing facilities to support this critically needed, uh, public health threat prices.

Now, one thing I want to ask you is that Gilead sciences is, uh, in the midst of developing what a lot of people say is, is, is currently the best option out there. Uh, and then you do have Moderna and Abby, um, working hard on the same thing. These are very large, uh, companies in your space. You're a smaller one. Um, Y could, could emergent, uh, create a competitive product. Um, and how likely is it that it'll be a merchant that comes out and says, we have a really competitive product?

Yeah, no, it's a great question. Jacobin I guess the way we look at it is this is not a competition, uh, but a joint effort. I mean the more shots on goal we have in this country, uh, to manufacture and develop vaccines and therapeutics to fight the coven 19 issue, the better off we're going to be. Uh, at emergent we're focused on two programs. First of all in the area of vaccine development, we've partnered with two separate firms, uh, where we are developing and manufacturing their products for them, uh, in our manufacturing facilities, leveraging the significant history and expertise that we have in development and manufacturing. On the therapeutic side. Uh, we are also developing two therapeutic treatments for protection against covert 19 using our own technology and our own manufacturing facilities to bring that to patients who need it as quickly as possible. So I look at it not as a competition, uh, but quite frankly the, again, the more shots on goal we have with all of our other, uh, companies who are in this mix, the better off we're going to be.

Now that that leads me to one of my next questions. But first with the vaccines that you are jointly producing with those other companies and the therapies that you might have going, um, where are you on the timeline? What are the risks to these things? Um, give me a sense of how likely it is that soon we will see these things come out and create a positive impact.

Sure. So let me first talk about the two vaccine candidates that we're collaborating with our strategic partners on. Uh, we expect to be in a phase one clinic in June with one of those candidates and then early in the second half of this year with the other candidate, uh, on the therapeutic front where again, we're taking our FDA licensed platform technology, uh, to develop new therapeutic products that protect against coven 19. Uh, there, uh, we're doing that in our facilities. We expect to have material manufactured, uh, later this summer, early summer so that we can begin a phase two clinical trial to establish safety and efficacy of this product. I'm sure there are other companies who have unique, uh, advantages are when it comes to their vaccines and their therapeutic candidates. Uh, I'll just talk about ours in terms of our confidence that we have, uh, in the safety and efficacy of the therapeutic treatments that we've been successful in getting FDA approval for over the last several decades.

You know, you mentioned that by mid summer there could be real material progress on some of these developments when you get something to market, whether it's a vaccine or a therapy. Um, could, could it be the bat D one of the things that is a cure or a treatment, um, to a large portion of the infected population

that that's the goal. Jacob? Uh, again, uh, when I talk about the therapeutic treatment, uh, the goal here is to, as quickly as possible, get those much needed to therapeutic treatments in the hands of patients.

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