Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) is among a select group of 16 companies actively working on a vaccine for coronavirus, rushing to be the first with a cure as it battles rivals such as Pfizer, Gilead Sciences, and GlaxoSmithKline.
The US medical and consumer goods group said earlier this month only a few days ago it was teaming up with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to speed up its vaccine development, which is currently at the preclinical testing stage. The firm, which is traded on the New York Stock Exchange, added that it should be able to identify a potential vaccine from its various prospects by the end of the month.
The New Jersey-based group, led by chief executive Alex Gorsky (pictured), has set up a timetable for human clinical trials allowing for a potential vaccine on November 2020, even though hitting that deadline, to cure the most widespread virus of this century, depends on many variables.
Johnson & Johnson stocks are up almost 5% in morning trading, even though the stock accumulated a 20% loss year-to-date. Today’s gains are in line with the overall market trend, mostly driven by positive sentiment towards the impact of the $2trn stimulus package to battle a slowdown brought about by the pandemic that Congress should pass on soon.
The business employs more than 130,000 people worldwide, serving more than 1 billion patients through its medical equipment and pharmaceutical solutions, and the company is scheduled to release its full-year earnings guidance for 2020 on April 14.
Johnson & Johnson chief financial officer, Joseph Wolk, said this week it will be an impossible task to predict how sales are going to look like this year, considering the widespread disruptive nature of the coronavirus outbreak. He said: “One thing I know for certain is we’re going to be 100 per cent precisely wrong”.