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The adverse event which has caused a halt in the clinical trials influenced investor’s confidence yesterday as JNJ shares lost 2.29% to close at $148.36.
The shares of Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) dropped on Tuesday after the company paused its ongoing late-stage coronavirus vaccine clinical trial which reportedly resulted in an “adverse effect” in one of the participants. According to CNBC who spoke to Johnson & Johnson’s (JNJ) Chief Financial Officer Joseph Wolk, the current hold on the vaccine trial will help to allow safety protocols to be implemented.
“We’re letting safety protocol follow proper procedure here,” Wolk said. “What it should also do is reassure the public that every scientific, medical, and ethical standard is being applied here,” added he.
As reported, the full details about the adverse event as it relates to the affected participant were not disclosed and analysts believe this may be so in order to keep public confidence. In an issued statement, the company however noted that the move not to disclose the identity of the affected participant in its 60,000 patient vaccine trial is to adhere to privacy ethics while there are additional efforts being made to gather more details about what truly happened.
Ranking as the fourth COVID-19 vaccine research firm in the Operation Warp Speed to have advanced its vaccine trials into its late stage, JNJ has come to a tipping point where it has to battle to regain public confidence while focusing on the way forward to meeting its annual 1 billion dose target starting early 2021.
The adverse event which has caused a halt in the clinical trials weighed in on investor’s confidence yesterday as JNJ shares lost 2.29% to close at $148.36. Although there is currently a hint of correction in the pre-market where the shares have risen by 0.20% in a seemingly upward trend, future performance of the shares if the trial does not resume promptly may neither encourage existing investors nor entice news ones to bet on the stock.
The Fate of JNJ amidst Vaccine Trial Halt and Shares Plunge
The perceived pressure and the need for pharmaceutical companies to advance their COVID-19 vaccine has not been more important than at this time. The markets are largely unstable and the hope of resuming normal activities worldwide as seen before the COVID-19 pandemic remains uncertain, at least not until a vaccine is officially approved and in wide circulation.
The United States has given itself a good headstart by investing in COVID-19 vaccine research firms in a project dubbed Operation Warp Speed. Earlier, it was reported that AstraZeneca Plc (LON: AZN) reported a similar mishap when one of its participants developed a condition dubbed Transverse Myelitis, resulting in a regulatory hold being placed on the company in the U.S. despite trials resuming in other countries including the United Kingdom.
A lot is dependent to know if the current clinical pause will result in a regulatory hold in the United States as that of AZN. Without confirmation that the currently affected participant took either a placebo or the real vaccine, the odds are that if the participant was administered the latter, Johnson & Johnson may have more battle on their hands than can currently be envisaged.