Leading Plymouth Meeting Biotech Company, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, leads the race in the search for a vaccine to fight COVID-19
The Plymouth Meeting biotech company has attracted the attention of health experts in different parts of the globe after announcing plans to develop a vaccine to fight the ravaging COVID-19, which already is being tested in humans.
The spread of SARS-CoV-2, the dangerous coronavirus responsible for COVID-19 from Wuhan, China to nearly every country around the world, infecting more than 3.5 million people has led to dozens of companies rushing to develop a vaccine against the novel virus. The move includes small biotech companies collaborating with big names in the industry as well as partnership deals between major players in the industry. One company that has done well in fighting the virus by developing a vaccine is Inovio Pharmaceuticals.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals has gotten the nod of the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), with the leading global funder of vaccine development putting its vote of confidence in the Plymouth Meeting biotech company. Early in the year, CEPI awarded the biotech company an initial $9 million grant to help in accelerating the company’s DNA medicine platform for vaccine development.
CEPI is estimated to have awarded the company a total of $17.2 million by the end of April. The move is to boost the large-scale manufacturing of Inovio’s vaccine. The company has also gotten donations from other NGOs such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals ranks as the first company to prove that DNA medicine, which helps to activate the body’s immune response, can be delivered directly into the body cells of a patient using the company’s smart device, known as Cellectra.
A couple of days after the Chinese government released the coronavirus genetic sequence, Inovio scientist developed a DNA vaccine called INO-4800, with pre-clinical testing of the vaccine launched in January. In April, the World Health Organization announced that 70 vaccines were in the works, with Inovio’s being one of the three leading vaccines being tested in humans.
Inovio Pharmaceuticals started as a one-person start-up nearly two decades ago in Philadelphia. Over the years, the company has grown and now has about 200 employees across the country, 100 of whom are in the region.
Inovio expects to have published human clinical trial results from the U.S., China, and South Korea by Fall, and the company expects to have one million doses of its vaccine produced for more trials and even emergency use by the end of 2020.
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