A Pennsylvania biotech company Inovio Pharmaceuticals, will start testing possible coronavirus vaccine. Inovio’s candidate, called INO-4800, is the second potential coronavirus vaccine to start human trials in the US. The Massachusetts biotech Moderna started dosing in Marchfor its own safety trial.
making it among the first biopharmaceutical companies to accomplish that goal. The important project, which has received funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, along with other nonprofits, expects to have early safety data by late summer and is aiming to produce 1 million doses by the end of 2020.
“This is a significant step forward in the global fight against COVID-19,” said J. Joseph Kim, president and CEO of Inovio in a statement. “Without a new safe and effective vaccine, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to continue to threaten lives and livelihoods.”
Inovio will enroll up to 40 healthy adult volunteers in Philadelphia, at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The screening of another group of volunteers in Kansas City, Missouri has already begun.
You can read: President Trump declared Major Disaster in Pennsylvania
Inovio said the Food and Drug Administration has accepted the company’s investigational new drug application for INO-4800, paving the way for phase-I clinical testing in healthy volunteers.
Researchers plan to dose the first person Monday. Each participant will receive two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart. The initial immune responses and safety data from the study are expected by late summer. If those results are positive, the company will start another study focused on assessing the vaccine’s efficacy against the virus.
The experimental vaccine was developed by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, with the effort receiving funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
The company is working to scale up manufacturing and plans to have one million doses of the vaccine candidate available by the end of the year.