Johnson & Johnson CEO on potential coronavirus vaccine: 'I think we'll have important data by the end of the year'

In an exclusive interview on “Sunday Morning Futures,” Alex Gorsky, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, discussed his company’s efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, saying, “I think we’ll have important data by the end of the year.”

Gorsky discussed the goals as many hospitals have been overwhelmed amid the coronavirus pandemic, with officials saying they were running out of protective gear and ventilators to keep up with the influx of patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

Last month, Johnson & Johnson announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies would further expedite its investigational coronavirus vaccine program through an expanded collaboration with the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, part of the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response.

Company executives also said last month that in addition to Janssen’s efforts to develop a vaccine, it was working closely with global partners to screen its library of antiviral molecules to accelerate the discovery of potential COVID-19 treatments in an effort to provide relief for patients around the world.

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Host Maria Bartiromo noted on Sunday that Johnson & Johnson will be conducting human clinical trials for the COVID-19 vaccine this November.

“The most important thing that we can do is stop the virus from occurring in the first place,” Gorsky told Bartiromo. “I want to highlight the efforts of our science system around the world who really, back in late December and early January... quickly ramped up in a process that can typically take anywhere between five to seven years, and they were able to do it in a matter of weeks and months.”

He went on to say that Johnson & Johnson was “working hard” with partners around the world including the Food and Drug Administration [FDA], academic institutions and the organizations responsible for vaccines in the United States and in Europe, “to do everything we can to accelerate the development.”

“We continue to run our different clinical trials,” he continued. “We expect to be starting up very soon, likely within the next month, and I think we’ll have important data by the end of the year.”

He added that in addition to finding a working vaccine, the “other really important component” would be to have an adequate supply.

“Right now, we are making very significant investment, somewhat at risk, knowing that we need to have adequate supply in parallel with knowing that the vaccine actually works,” he said.

When Bartiromo asked Gorsky if he was willing to take his supply chain entirely back to America instead of relying on China for active ingredients in prescription drugs, he responded, “I think the facts are that most of the large companies now have large global integrative supply chains.”

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“I think we also recognize that this crisis provides us with an opportunity to make sure that we have always got supplies, not only on the global basis, but also on a national basis,” he continued. “I think what we want to be thoughtful of, as we go through this in [the] short-term, that we prioritize making sure that we’re getting the supplies that we need, and then, longer-term... the important changes and transitions that we need to make in our current system to make sure it is protected.”

Fox Business' Maria Bartiromo contributed to this report.