Over the past week, Johnson & Johnson made two key decisions regarding its work on vaccines for HIV and COVID-19, according to media reports.
First, J&J is halting a late-stage global trial on an HIV vaccine after it was found to be ineffective at preventing infections.
On Wednesday, Reuters reported that J&J’s study, which began in 2019 and included nearly 4,000 participants, did not meet expectations.
The prospective vaccine involved two different types of the shot administered across four vaccination visits per year to deliver the genetic code of HIV while using similar technology that J&J employed for its COVID-19 vaccine.
A spokesperson for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a J&J partner in the trial, told the outlet that the results were “not the outcome we had hoped for, unfortunately.”
Additionally, The Wall Street Journal reported last week that J&J is slashing production of its COVID-19 vaccine and has terminated its manufacturing agreements with companies that helped produce the vaccine during the pandemic. This includes Catalent and Sanofi, while J&J is also reportedly in arbitration with Merck over its partnership to make COVID-19 vaccines.
Though not as popular as the COVID-19 vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna, J&J’s one-shot jab was given to millions and boosted the company’s pharma sales in Q3. Still, the company suspended its COVID-19 vaccine sales guidance in April 2022, citing “global supply surplus and demand uncertainty.”
The vaccine developments come at a pivotal time for the pharma giant, which will host its Q4 2022 earnings call next Tuesday.
During the second half of 2022, J&J announced that it would spin off its consumer health unit Kenvue. The company filed for an IPO earlier this month.
Additionally, J&J also sealed its biggest deal in six years by purchasing cardiovascular med tech company Abiomed for $16.6 billion in November and closing the deal one month later.
On the leadership front, J&J CEO Joaquin Duato succeeded Alex Gorsky as Executive Chairman a few weeks ago following a brief transitional period. This occurred one year after Duato succeeded Gorsky as CEO in 2022.