The Next Phase of Our COVID-19 Vaccine Development

The Next Phase of Our COVID-19 Vaccine Development

by Alex Gorsky Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, Johnson & Johnson

Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 11:30am


It’s hard to believe that just six months have passed since our scientists identified Janssen’s lead COVID-19 vaccine candidate. We couldn’t have predicted all the changes that have happened since. Two things, however, have been constant: COVID-19 continues to be a devastating pandemic, and Johnson & Johnson has been working around the clock on a potential solution.

We’re pleased to announce that based on interim results from our ongoing studies, the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson are launching ENSEMBLE, a large-scale, multi-country Phase 3 trial of a single dose of our vaccine candidate. This is big news for our company and I’m incredibly proud of the way our vaccine development teams and supply chain experts across the world have collaborated and produced such a breakthrough in a very challenging environment. 

But no matter the speed, we remain 100% committed to holding our vaccine development process to high ethical and scientific principles, and we are sharing details of the ENSEMBLE study protocol for everyone to see. There is still so much to be done, and it must be done right.

In medicine there are no quick wins; progress always involves setbacks. At Johnson & Johnson we understand that transformative innovation is not a linear process. Trying, testing, and, when the moment demands it, going back a step, are what lead to the best outcomes.

And, most important, when it comes to safety there is no such thing as an acceptable reason to cut corners. Protecting the well-being of everyone who receives a vaccination is our greatest priority—and our patients and customers need to be able to trust that we took all the right steps.

These considerations create complexity, but they are all necessary to get to the best results. It’s why our company is able to mark milestones like the one we’re sharing today—and move forward with both optimism and confidence.