Leiden pharma firm Janssen may test coronavirus vaccine abroad: FD

The Janssen headquarters in Leiden. Photo: Bic via Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Bic via Wikimedia Commons

American drugs firm Johnson & Johnson, which is working with more than 100 people on a coronavirus vaccine in Leiden, may not test the vaccine in the Netherlands because Dutch rules are too strict, the Financieele Dagblad said on Monday.

Instead the vaccine is likely to be tested in the US or UK, a spokesman told the paper. ‘We will choose the best and the quickest option,’ the spokesman for Janssen, Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceuticals subsidiary said.

The company was earlier involved in making vaccines against Ebola and Hiv, both of which were also tested abroad.

The FD said that pharmaceutical firms wishing to test drugs in the Netherlands have to apply for an environmental permit, which can take more than a year to acquire and that some biotech firms have actually left the Netherlands because procedures can be quicker abroad.

The company sad it hoped to be able to test its vaccine on humans in November. The Leiden factory has capacity to make 300 million doses a year.

Meanwhile, according to the Gelderlander, a pharmaceuticals company in Zeewolde which makes a medicine known as chloroquine is under police guard.

Chloroquine, an anti malaria drug, has been mentioned as a possible treatment for coronavirus, because of its anti-viral properties. It is not approved for the treatment of Covid-19.

Police have not said why they are guarding the premises, but local broadcaster Omroep Flevoland said the protection amounts to a patrol car and plain clothes police officers.

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