Inovio to Speed Coronavirus Vaccine Development Effort

Inovio Pharmaceuticals shares jump after the biotech accelerated its timeline to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
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Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) - Get Report shares jumped after the biotech company said it accelerated its timeline for developing a coronavirus vaccine, planning human trials for April and aiming for 1 million doses by the end of the year.

Shares of the Plymouth Meeting, Pa., biotech at last check were up 20% at $5.28.

"We plan to begin human clinical trials in the U.S. in April and soon thereafter in China and South Korea, where the outbreak is impacting the most people," J. Joseph Kim, president and CEO, said in a statement. 

"We plan on delivering 1 million doses by year end with existing resources and capacity."

Kim added, however, that "we will need additional resources to scale up to make enough doses to help protect Americans from Covid-19 as well as to lead global efforts to curtail this virus."

Last week, Kim told Bloomberg that his company was aiming to have at least 1 million doses of its vaccine available by year's end and then rely on bigger manufacturers to expand the supply to as many as 50 million.

Inovio, Moderna (MRNA) - Get Report, Gilead Sciences (GILD) - Get Report, Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) - Get Report and Sanofi (SNY) - Get Report are among the companies working to develop a coronavirus vaccine that can stop the rapidly spreading disease.

Moderna said last week it had shipped a first batch of a potential vaccine to the U.S. government. A trial in humans could start in less than two months, though it may take a year and a half for a vaccine to reach the public, Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said.

Inovio has 15 DNA medicine clinical programs currently in development focused on HPV-associated diseases, cancer, and infectious diseases, including Covid-19 under a grant from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, the company statement said.

CEPI is an Oslo public-private partnership aiming to develop vaccines and stop epidemics.