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Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: GGD
Date: March 04, 2021 12:29PM
I'm having a little trouble visualizing how Merck is going to be able to help out so quickly. Especially since Biden says that we'll have enough supply for all adults by the end of May.

Here's part of Merck's press release about the agreement.

[www.merck.com]

Quote

Merck to Help Produce Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 Vaccine; BARDA to Provide Merck With Funding to Expand Merck’s Manufacturing Capacity for COVID-19 Vaccines and Medicines

March 2, 2021 4:30 pm EST

KENILWORTH, N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Merck (NYSE:MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, announced today it has entered into multiple agreements to support efforts to expand manufacturing capacity and supply of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 medicines and vaccines. The Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), a division of the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), will provide Merck with funding of up to $268.8 million to adapt and make available a number of existing manufacturing facilities for the production of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. Merck has also entered into agreements with Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, to support the manufacturing and supply of Johnson & Johnson’s SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccine. Merck will use its facilities in the United States to produce drug substance, formulate and fill vials of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to contribute to the global response to the pandemic as part of the remarkable efforts of the entire medical and scientific community,” said Mike Nally, executive vice president, Human Health at Merck. “This funding from BARDA will allow us to accelerate our efforts to scale up our manufacturing capacity to enable timely delivery of much needed medicines and vaccines for the pandemic.”

Under the terms of the BARDA agreement, Merck will adapt and make available some of the company’s existing manufacturing sites to accelerate manufacturing efforts for SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 vaccines and medicines. This funding is in addition to Merck’s continued investment in its global vaccines manufacturing network as part of its planned capital investments of more than $20 billion from 2020 through the end of 2024.

...

There's 90 days from the time of the announcement to the end of May when the vaccine supply is supposed to be available. There's $268.8 million of work to be done to start the process. Realistically, how quickly can Merck ramp up production of J&J's vaccine and start adding to the end of May vaccine supply?
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: sekker
Date: March 04, 2021 12:52PM
I'm pretty sure the J&J vaccine uses more standard technology that's been used for other vaccines. This has not been used for the first 2 mRNA vaccines, so much is idle.

This seems like a great way to get going faster, we need to beat all of these new variants.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: deckeda
Date: March 04, 2021 01:04PM
I thought you were going to ask how/why the HHS is funding this.

Merck knows how to make vaccines. They need to bring some extra machines online. Presumably part of the cash to Merck goes to payments to J&J to license the recipe.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: Speedy
Date: March 04, 2021 01:31PM
$270M is a deal compared to the cost of ICU stays for a few thousand patients. Plus the rest of the world is mostly still waiting to get vaccines so the newly created infrastructure will not go to waste.



Saint Cloud, Minnesota, where the weather is wonderful even when it isn't.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: GGD
Date: March 04, 2021 01:42PM
Quote
Speedy
$270M is a deal compared to the cost of ICU stays for a few thousand patients. Plus the rest of the world is mostly still waiting to get vaccines so the newly created infrastructure will not go to waste.

I'm just wondering how they can spend a quarter of a billion dollars so quickly and complete work fast enough to produce a significant supply of vaccine in less than 90 days.

One thought that I had is maybe J&J is going to funnel 100% of their production capacity to delivering to the US, and Merck's production will go to help fill those "delayed shipments" starting in June.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 04, 2021 02:24PM
oh gosh, how are you going to get info on that?



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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: NewtonMP2100
Date: March 04, 2021 02:36PM
.....seems like everyone is looking to get their hands on this Johnson.............................................................................................................................................& Johnson.....



_____________________________________

I reject your reality and substitute my own!
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: bfd
Date: March 04, 2021 03:29PM
One thing it should show us is just how BIG Big Pharma is … to have the capacity to enter into a deal with that level of production means something.

They say it takes money to make money, but right now these guys are printing it - with the exclusive help of the gub'mint.

Not bad work if Merck can get it. No risk/high reward.

Now if the majority of rabble could just pivot their meth labs and Grow Rooms into Covid-19 messenger RNA production as quickly …



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2021 03:29PM by bfd.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: neophyte
Date: March 04, 2021 04:04PM
The J&J vaccine uses an Adenovirus, rather than mRNA, to get the genetic info into cells so they can make the actual antigen (Covid19 spike proteins) that we generate immunity against.

Adenoviral-based vaccines were first conceived of and engineered in the 1980s, so there is much already known about how to optimize their production.

Indeed, a lab I worked in the 1990s-early 2000s generated adenoviral vectors for gene expression in experimental animals, using the common laboratory Adenovirus 5 Type. I am most likely seropositive for Adenovirus Type 5 (as is about 40% of the general US public anyway), and I was wondering how effective such a vaccine would be if we mounted an immediate immune response to the virus such that it could not even make much spike covid protein. Of course J&J knew this, and they use an Adenovirus Type 26, a rare type that few humans have ever encountered.
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Re: Is something fishy about the Merck / Johnson & Johnson deal?
Posted by: cbelt3
Date: March 04, 2021 04:09PM
It’s all about the manufacturing capacity.
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