J&J tight-lipped ahead of next week's Covid-19 vaccine data

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Pivotal data on Johnson & Johnson’s one-shot Covid-19 vaccine candidate failed to materialise alongside the company’s annual results today, but the world does not have long to wait, with the readout promised for early next week. In the meantime, executives gave away little, other than to express optimism based on encouraging early data. Questions on durability, the need for a booster and efficacy against new variants were also rebuffed, with J&J's chief executive, Alex Gorsky, saying it would be “inappropriate to speculate” on the outcome given the proximity of hard data. Poor efficacy would be a huge disappointment, particularly given Merck & Co’s exit from the vaccine queue yesterday, and considering the huge quantities of product that J&J would be able to supply. On this subject, execs said they were “very comfortable” that firm purchase commitments could be met this year – a nod to news that Astrazeneca has joined Pfizer/Biontech in facing supply problems in Europe. J&J also reiterated its pledge that the shot would not cost more than $10, adding that the final price would depend on demand, which in turn depends on the data. The final countdown begins.

J&J's pivotal trials of vaccine candidate Ad26.COV2-S
Trial Details Readout 
Ensemble  Testing single-dose regimen; target recruitment 60,000 w/c Feb 1, 2021 
Ensemble 2  Testing two-dose schedule, target recruitment 30,000  Q4 2021
Source: company statements. 

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