J&J Ebola vaccine gets $115M to speed development

Johnson & Johnson said on Friday that newly formed groups supporting work on its experimental Ebola vaccine would receive 100 million euros ($115 million) from Europe's Innovative Medicines Initiative to speed development.

The U.S. drugmaker earlier this month announced it had started clinical trials of its two-injection vaccine, which uses a booster from Denmark's Bavarian Nordic, making it the third such product to enter human testing.

J&J has been seeking partners after committing up to $200 million to accelerate its Ebola vaccine program in October.

The new initiative will see J&J join with institutions including the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the University of Oxford and the Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale to form consortia working on different aspects of vaccine development.

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Europe's Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is a public-private scheme jointly paid for by the European Commission and the pharmaceuticals industry. The IMI said in November it would invest 280 million euros in Ebola research, with the lion's share going to vaccines.

Two other experimental vaccines, one from GlaxoSmithKline and a rival from NewLink and Merck, are already in clinical development.