J&J to spend up to $200M on Ebola vaccine program

In this Oct. 10, 2008, file photo, Johnson & Johnson products are shown in Philadelphia. Johnson & Johnson says it will start safety testing in early January on a potential vaccine combination that could protect against a strain of the deadly Ebola virus. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Johnson & Johnson will start safety testing in early January on a vaccine combination that could protect people from a strain of the deadly Ebola virus.

The health care products maker says it has committed up to $200 million to speed up and expand production of a vaccine program being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.

J&J is developing the vaccine with the Danish biotech company Bavarian Nordic. It involves a regimen in which two vaccines are delivered two months apart. The combination provided complete protection in animals against a virus strain similar to the one causing the current outbreak in West Africa that has killed thousands of people.

The New Brunswick, New Jersey, company says it will also determine whether its vaccine protects against the version causing the outbreak.

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