Inovio vaccine proves potent against SARS-CoV-2 in preclinical trials

By The Science Advisory Board staff writers

May 20, 2020 -- Inovio announced that preclinical data for its INO-4800 vaccine candidate were published in Nature Communications on May 20. The results suggesting that the vaccine creates neutralizing antibodies support ongoing INO-4800 clinical trials, according to the firm.

The INO-4800 vaccine candidate targets the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The candidate's neutralizing activity was demonstrated using three separate neutralizing assays that tested the vaccine's ability to generate antibodies that block viral infection. The tests included: an assay using live SARS-CoV-2 viruses, an assay using a pseudo-virus assay, where another virus displays the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein, and a novel high-throughput surrogate neutralization assay measuring the ability of INO-4800-induced antibodies to block the SARS-CoV-2 spike binding to the host angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) receptor. The study also showed that the vaccine generated a strong T-cell response.

"INOVIO and our collaborators are working diligently to advance INO-4800 to help fight the current pandemic," commented J. Joseph Kim, PhD, president and CEO of Inovio. "We are planning to utilize these positive preclinical results along with our upcoming animal challenge data and safety and immune responses data from our Phase 1 studies to support rapidly advancing this summer to a large, randomized Phase 2/3 clinical trial."

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense have contributed significant funding to the advancement and manufacturing of INO-4800.

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