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Inovio Publishes Positive Animal Testing Data For Coronavirus DNA Vaccine

Shanthi Rexaline

With the Street and experts divided on rival Moderna Inc's (NASDAQ: MRNA) recently released interim Phase 1 readout, Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) released positive preclinical data for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine candidate INO-4800.

What Happened?

Pennsylvania-based Inovio announced publication of data from animal testing of INO-4800 in the peer-reviewed journal "Nature Communications" showing robust neutralizing antibody and T-cell immune responses against the coronavirus mice and guinea pigs.

The article was authored by Inovio scientists and collaborators from the Wistart Institute, the University of Texas, Public Health England, Fudan University and Advaccine.

"These positive preclinical results from our COVID-19 DNA vaccine not only highlight the potency of our DNA medicines platform, but also build on our previously reported positive Phase 1/2a data from our vaccine against the coronavirus that causes MERS, which demonstrated near-100% seroconversion and neutralization from a similarly designed vaccine INO-4700," said Dr. Kate Broderick, SVP of R&D and Team Lead for COVID-19 vaccine at Inovio.

Data also showed antibodies were detected in the lungs of the vaccinated animals, which could be important in providing protection from SARS-CoV-2. Additionally, high levels of Spike-specific T-cell responses were observed with INO-4800 vaccination, underlining its importance in mediating protection from the virus infection.

Why It Matters

With the COVID-19 pandemic bringing the world to a standstill, biopharma companies and institutions have plunged headlong into developing a treatment or vaccine to counter the virus.

Inovio was touted to be one of the frontrunners for a vaccine against the virus. Moderna reported Monday positive interim Phase 1 data for its mRNA vaccine candidate mRNA-1273. STAT News reported, citing experts, data from eight subjects is not adequate to authenticate the efficacy and safety results released by the company.

What's Next?

Inovio said these positive preclinical results along with its upcoming animal challenge data, and safety and immune responses data from its Phase 1 studies support rapid advancement of the INO-4800 this summer to a large, randomized Phase 2/3 clinical trial.

In pre-market trading Wednesday, Inovio shares were higher by 14.08% to $16.61.

Related Links:

A Deep Dive On Coronavirus Vaccine Plays Moderna, Inovio

6 Coronavirus Vaccine Candidates Are The Likeliest To Succeed, Says Morgan Stanley

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