Inovio Reports Positive Results From Covid Drug Test on Animals

Inovio Pharmaceuticals said a Covid-19 drug candidate showed promise in animal testing and it hopes to move on to testing the product on larger animals.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals  (INO) - Get Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Report shares jumped on Wednesday after the company's coronavirus vaccine candidate showed promise by producing antibodies in mice and guinea pigs. 

The company said it expected preliminary safety and immune-response data from the Phase I test to be available by June, with multiple animal challenge study data expected in the coming weeks. 

"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," said Kate Broderick, Inovio's senior vice president of research and development. 

INO-4800 targets the major surface antigen protein that causes COVID-19 and the Phase I trial demonstrated that vaccination generated robust binding and neutralizing antibody as well as T cell responses in animals. 

Once the preliminary data are in, the company expects to approach the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for authorization to move into a Phase II/III trial, which could happen in July or August. 

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Plymouth Meeting, Pa., plans to test the vaccine in larger animals, including rabbits and monkeys, while also undertaking challenge studies in mice, ferrets, and monkeys, Broderick said. Challenge studies involve intentionally giving the virus to an animal and then seeing if the vaccine prevents infection. 

So far no vaccines have been proven to prevent infections with COVID-19. 

On Tuesday, shares of drugmaker Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Moderna, Inc. Report dropped nearly 10% after vaccine experts told a health news company that research around Moderna's coronavirus vaccine candidate did not produce enough critical data to properly evaluate it.

STAT News reported that vaccine experts took issue with the fact that the few numbers the company did release did not mean much on their own.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals shares were gaining after the news.