Johnson & Johnson company awarded $28.5 million for ebola vaccine development

New Jersey-based Johnson & Johnson officials recently announced that one of its Janssen Pharmaceutical companies, Crucell Holland B.V., was awarded $28.5 million from The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA).

BARDA is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The awards will be used to fast-track the development of Crucell Holland's investigational Ebola prime-boost vaccine regimen, which at present is being tested in clinical studies.

The regimen uses a combination of two components based on AdVac technology from Crucell Holland B.V. and MVA-BN technology from Bavarian Nordic.

The award is based on a five-year commitment and has options for additional funding of $40.5 million funding.

"We are committed to finding a way to support the fight to get to and stay at zero Ebola cases worldwide," Paul Stoffels, chief scientific officer and worldwide chairman of pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson, said. "Future outbreaks are a real danger, and we need to be prepared for them."

Phase I clinical studies of the prime-boost vaccine regimen began in the United Kingdom and United States in December 2014, followed by several sites in Africa.

A Phase II study, which will take place in the United Kingdom and France, started in July 2015. Additionally, there will be a safety and immunogenicity study in Sierra Leone and additional phase II studies outside the outbreak area in Africa.

During clinical studies, BARDA will work on manufacturing developments related to the vaccine.

Currently, there is no licensed vaccine, treatment or cure for the Ebola virus.

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