J&J Fast Tracks Ebola Combination Vaccine

Johnson & Johnson (J&J) will fast-track the development of a new combination vaccine regimen against Ebola and broadly collaborate with its partners in global health to address the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

The accelerated vaccine program features a prime-boost regimen, in which one vector is used to prime, and the other to boost the immune response. It consists of two vaccine components that are based on AdVac technology from Crucell N.V. (part of the Janssen pharmaceutical companies of J&J) and the MVA-BN technology from Bavarian Nordic, (a biotech company, based in Denmark). The program has received direct funding and is also using vaccine preclinical services from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH). Crucell will bring this development program forward, in close collaboration with Bavarian Nordic and the NIAID to allow for initiation of a clinical trial of this combined regimen in humans in early 2015.

Crucell and Bavarian Nordic are both currently developing preventive vaccines against filoviruses, including the Ebola virus, with direct funding and vaccine preclinical services from NIAID. In addition, the two companies have developed a combination regimen that uses the potency of both vaccines and that could be used to elicit protective immunity against the Zaïre species of the Ebola virus, which is responsible for the current outbreak in West Africa. The combination vaccine provided complete protection of vaccinated macaques against disease and death after exposure to a highly virulent wildtype Ebola Zaire strain, according to information from J&J. Based on these promising results, Bavarian Nordic, Crucell and NIAID intend to advance this development program to allow for initiation of a human trial in early 2015. 

The combination regimen uses proven vaccine technology platforms from both companies that have shown to be immunogenic and safe when used in humans for other applications:  to date more than 1,000 humans have received Crucell's adeno-platform based vaccine in clinical trials while Bavarian Nordic's MVA-BN platform is the basis of the smallpox vaccine registered in Canada and Europe and stockpiled in the rest of the world with a safety record of use in more than 7,300 humans. In addition to the clinical advantage of the combination regimen, the collaboration also allows for faster production with each company taking on the production of one element of the combination regimen..

J&J’s multi-pronged approach, as part of their overall commitment to prevent disease in vulnerable populations, includes: an intensive review of known pathways in Ebola pathophysiology to determine whether previously tested medicines can be used to help patients survive an Ebola infection and additional support to the non-profit organization Direct Relief International to facilitate the air transport of a variety of infection prevention products to Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Source: J&J

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *