Q1: Johnson & Johnson has already announced at the end of March that it will start a Phase 1 study for a vaccination against the new coronavirus in September and is thus one of the leading companies in vaccine development. What is the current status?
At the end of March, we announced the selection of a lead Covid-19 vaccine candidate from constructs we have been working on since January 2020. The Janssen Vaccines site in Bern, which belongs to Johnson & Johnson, is also involved in this vaccine development. We expect to initiate human clinical studies of our lead vaccine candidate at the latest by September 2020 and anticipate the first batches of a Covid-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021, a substantially accelerated timeframe in comparison to the typical vaccine development process. The Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have entered into collaborations with Emergent BioSolutions, Inc. and Catalent Biologics to support the manufacturing of its lead investigational Covid-19 vaccine candidate. These are the first in a series of prospective global collaboration agreements designed to further the Company’s goal to supply more than one billion doses of the vaccine worldwide. Johnson & Johnson is committed to bringing an affordable vaccine to the public on a not-for-profit basis for emergency pandemic use.
Q2: Last December, you took part in the presentation of the “Pharma Hub Switzerland 2030”. Could you briefly point out the most important part of this strategy paper for J&J?
All 10 strategic key areas of Pharma Strategy 2030 are important to the industry, including J&J, as they support the maintenance of Switzerland as a major R&D center that supports the economy of the country and ensures Swiss patients have rapid access to innovative compounds. Of particular importance to Johnson & Johnson are:
Q3: As a global health care company with over 130,000 employees worldwide, what importance does Johnson & Johnson attach to Switzerland as a business location?
Johnson & Johnson has been operating in Switzerland since 1959. Since then the importance of the location has grown steadily. Today, over a dozen companies in various cantons are part of our Family of Companies here. Johnson & Johnson employs some 4300 people from 90 countries in Switzerland and has been officially recognized by the Top Employer Institute as a Top Employer 2020. This certification acknowledges our ongoing commitment to creating an inclusive and innovative working environment where employees have exciting development opportunities and can bring their diverse experiences, skillset and ideas to work, every day.
Dr. René P. Buholzer
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