Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) inked a collaborative deal with Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen Pharmaceutical Co to develop a preventive vaccine candidate for COVID-19. One of the world’s elite biopharmaceutical ventures and the preeminent academic medical center commenced preclinical testing on multiple vaccine prospects in a quest to identify a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trials by the end of March, the parties declared. As declarations have been made the world is watching.
Externalization & Collaboration
According to a report by Anthony Vecchione, writing for NJBIZ, the major pharma believes that based on multiple collaborative partnerships, it could be ready for a Phase I clinical trial by the end of the year. Janssen understands the need for externalized collaboration: Dr. Paul Stoffels, vice chairman of the executive committee and chief scientific officer noted, “It is critical to work with the best scientific minds as we look to rapidly identify and develop solutions to the COVID-19 outbreak.” Dr. Stoffels continued, “We are grateful for talented and experienced collaboration partners like Dan Barouch and his team at BIDMC.”
The global pharma believes the BIDMC, plus other collaborations between Janssen and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) and part of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, can expedite development and production of a vaccine.
BIDMC Center for Virology and Vaccine Research & Ragon Institute
The pharma will team with BIDMC’s Center for Virology and Vaccine Research and the Ragon Institute, led by Dr. Dan Barouch. They have a notable track record for their work on the pathogenesis and immunology of viral infections and the development of vaccine strategies for situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Mr. Vecchione. Barouch reports “We are currently evaluating a series of potential vaccine candidates for COVID-19.” He continued, “This collaboration with Janssen is aimed at the development of a COVID-19 vaccine that would allow for rapid development, large-scale manufacturing, and global delivery.”
Big Pharma Value Prop
While Big Pharma ventures such as J&J/Janssen may externalize R&D, they are well suited for large-scale production and global scale should they hit a success. Janssen has the ability, wherewithal and capacity to rapidly upscale production and manufacturing capabilities required to meet the demands of a global vaccine in a pandemic such as the one faced now.
Externalize & Capitalize on Big Pharma Capabilities
Janssen seeks to optimize each player’s strengths and core competencies when developing vaccines. For example, the pharma defers to its partner Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center for early-stage research, including preclinical efforts. Once appropriate targets are in place, the company leverages its Advac and PER.C6 technologies that support scale out of production and ultimately distribution of vaccines. This collaborative model helped produce other investigational vaccine targets focusing on Ebola, Zika, RSV and HIV vaccines.