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Inovio Pharmaceuticals received $6.9 million to work with the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH) and start Phase 1/2 clinical testing of its INO-4800 vaccine. Following the news, INO stock is up.
The stock of Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO), one of the biotech companies involved in COVID-19 vaccine development, rose 4.69% on Friday to close at $8.26. In the pre-market today, it is slightly down by 0.73%.
The company was one of the winners at the beginning of 2020 when coronavirus overtook the world. As investors canalized their funds to pharma companies, Inovio Pharmaceuticals started gaining momentum. Its stock price rose to the 2020 high of $14.09 on March 6. Later, as the market crashed, INO stock plunged to $5.7 on March 10 but soon started a rebound. The stock’s annual change has already made up a positive 150.30%. It may further increase, as Inovio is delivering good news on its COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
Inovio Begins Phase 1/2 Clinical Trial of COVID-19 Vaccine in South Korea
On April 16, Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced it got $6.9 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to collaborate with the Korea National Institute of Health (KNIH) and the International Vaccine Institute (IVI) and start Phase 1/2 clinical testing of its INO-4800 vaccine in South Korea.
Inovio CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim commented:
“Developing a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine is a global imperative, and we’re pleased to partner with IVI and KNIH to test INO-4800 in South Korea. Our DNA vaccine platform was one of the first technologies to receive support from CEPI to accelerate a COVID-19 vaccine, and IVI conducting safety and efficacy trials in South Korea is a crucial step forward in evaluating this vaccine.”
Dr. Richard Hatchett, CEO of CEPI, said:
“Developing a safe and effective vaccine and ensuring its global supply is our best exit strategy from the COVID-19 pandemic. CEPI is pleased to work with INOVIO and IVI in this critical next stage of testing.”
On April 6, IVI started Phase 1 study in the U.S. since April 6. Within the testing, 40 healthy adults are receiving the vaccine candidate. Now, South Korea will join the trial process and estimate INO-4800.
The Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety has earlier decided to adopt a fast-track approval for the vaccine and treatment clinical trials. In other words, it shortened the clinical trial screening period to 7 days instead of 30 for known and used materials. For new substances, this period will be 15 days. Besides, as Inovio’s DNA platform is a reputable one, it will skip toxicology tests. Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) and the KNIH have supported these efforts as well.