J&J to Accelerate Ebola Vaccine Development as Death Toll Rises

Sep 04, 2014 1:16 am ET

Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- Johnson & Johnson said it will fast- track the development of a new combination vaccine regimen against Ebola amid a race to combat the worst outbreak of the deadly disease on record.

The company will collaborate with Denmark-based biotech company Bavarian Nordic and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, it said in a statement today. They will work toward starting a clinical trial in humans in early 2015.

The Ebola outbreak in Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria has sickened more than 3,500 people, killing 1,900, more than all previous outbreaks combined, according to the World Health Organization. The number of cases may exceed 20,000 before the epidemic is controlled, the WHO said.

WHO advisers determined last month that experimental treatments against Ebola are ethical to use to help infected patients. The National Institutes of Health and London-based GlaxoSmithKline Plc are also developing an experimental vaccine, with U.S. scientists set to enroll patients in safety trials.