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Biological E. to make substance used in J&J’s potential COVID-19 vaccine

Indian drugmaker Biological E. Ltd will begin making a drug substance used in Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate that is in early to mid-stage trials, the companies said on Thursday.

J&J aims to produce more than 1 billion doses of its vaccine candidate, and has struck a similar deal with U.S.-based Emergent BioSolutions Inc to boost manufacturing. Large-scale trials for the potential vaccine, Ad26.COV2-S, are set to start by October.

Twenty-eight vaccine candidates are currently in human trials, according to the World Health Organization, as the global death toll from the novel coronavirus nears 750,000.

Biological E. Ltd in an email also said it has signed a licensing agreement with Houston-based Baylor College of Medicine to develop a COVID-19 vaccine.

Other Indian companies developing or manufacturing potential COVID-19 vaccines include the Serum Institute, Wockhardt Ltd, Cadila Healthcare Ltd and Panacea Biotec Ltd.

India on Thursday reported a record daily jump of 67,000 coronavirus infections, taking its total to nearly 2.4 million. It has the world’s third-biggest case load after the United States and Brazil. – Reuters

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