Shares of Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ -0.30% rallied 2.2% in premarket trading Wednesday, after the health care and pharmaceutical company said it launched its pivotal global Phase 3 trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, JNJ-78436735, being developed by its Janssen Pharmaceutical subsidiary. J&J said the initiation of the trial comes after its Phase 1/2a study demonstrated that the safety profile and immunogenicity after a single vaccination supported further development. The Phase 3 study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of a single vaccine versus placebo, in up to 60,000 adults 18 years old and older, including "significant representation" of people over 60 years old. "With our vaccine candidate now in our global Phase 3 trial, we are one step closer to finding a solution for COVID-19," said Mathai Mammen, global head, Janssen Research & Development. "We used a highly scientific and evidence-based approach to select this vaccine candidate." J&J's stock has slipped 1.1% year to date through Tuesday, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.10% has lost 4.4%.