US government invests €414m in Leiden-based Janssen vaccine project


The American government is pumping $456m (€414m)  into Johnson & Johnson’s pharmaceuticals arm Janssen which is working on a vaccine for Covid-19 in Leiden, the company has confirmed.

Janssen’s Leiden labs have the lead role in the research project.

According to Forbes, the investment is the largest amount spent on a vaccine project to date, although Janssen has not yet started any trials.

In a statement, Johnson & Johnson said it expects to start human clinical studies of its lead vaccine candidate by September 2020 at the latest. And it anticipates the first batches of a COVID-19 vaccine could be available for emergency use authorisation in early 2021.

The Financieele Dagblad reported earlier that the company may not test the vaccine in the Netherlands because Dutch rules are too strict.

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

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