US gives $71 million to pharmaceutical firm for coronavirus vaccine device

Muhammad UsmanMultimedia Journalist

23rd Jun, 2020. 11:25 pm

On Tuesday, Inovio Pharmaceuticals said it has received $71 from America’s Department of Defense (DoD) to boost the production of the firm’s devices that are used to administer the Covid-19 experimental vaccine into the skin.

Shares of the drug developer rose almost 13 percent to $17.27 before the opening bell.

The DoD funding will be used to extend the manufacture of a next-generation version of Cellectra devices for the company. The company started designing the devices in 2019, and initial development has already begun.

Cellectra is a small, handheld device that can be stored, without maintenance, in large quantities. Inovio said a previous version of the system has been used to safely dose more than 2,000 patients in clinical trials.

Inovio, who began human trials of his vaccine in April, said that he expects to announce preliminary results from the trial later this month, adding that mid-stage tests will begin this summer.

There are currently no approved COVID-19 vaccines, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, with governments, drug manufacturers, and researchers working on approximately 100 vaccine programs.

In May, the company said the experimental vaccine produced protective antibodies and responses to the immune system in mice and guinea pigs, which the firm said validates its platform for DNA drugs.

The DoD deal will support the efforts of Inovio next year to produce potentially hundreds of millions of doses of their experimental vaccine.

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