Inovio’s COVID-19 vaccine INO-4800 generates antibodies and immune responses
Inovio (INO) announced the publication of the preclinical study data for IN0-4800, its COVID-19 DNA vaccine, demonstrating “robust” neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses against coronavirus SARS-CoV-2.
The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Communications by INOVIO scientists and collaborators from The Wistar Institute, the University of Texas, Public Health England, Fudan University, and Advaccine. Kate Broderick, Inovio’s Senior VP of R&D and Team Lead for COVID-19 vaccine development, said, “These positive preclinical results from our COVID-19 DNA vaccine not only highlight the potency of our DNA medicines platform, but also build on our previously reported positive Phase 1/2a data from our vaccine against the coronavirus that causes MERS, which demonstrated near-100% seroconversion and neutralization from a similarly designed vaccine INO-4700.
The potent neutralizing antibody and T cell immune responses generated in multiple animal models are supportive of our currently on-going INO-4800 clinical trials.
” The studies demonstrated that vaccination with INO-4800 generated “robust” binding and neutralizing antibody as well as T cell responses in mice and guinea pigs.
The authors demonstrated virus neutralizing activity using three separate neutralization assays testing the vaccine’s ability to generate antibodies which can block virus infection.
Study authors also detected these antibodies in the lungs of the vaccinated animals which could be important in providing protection from SARS-CoV-2.
In addition, high levels of Spike-specific T cell responses were observed with INO-4800 vaccination, which could be important in mediating protection from the virus infection.
A Phase 2/3 efficacy trial is planned to start in July/August pending regulatory approval.
Piper Sandler analyst Christopher Raymond noted that Inovio shares are up by a double digit percentage on the Nature Communications publication of preclinical data on the company’s CoV-19 DNA vaccine INO-4800, but he said “this isn’t new news.” The market currently has a “buy-first-ask-questions-later mentality on all things COVID,” but most of the data in this paper has been available since the pre-print in early March, said Raymond.
Additionally, while an ability to generate T-cell responses and functional neutralizing antibodies in mice and guinea pigs is important, the preclinical picture remains incomplete without non-human primate data and viral challenge data, which is needed to fully understand the potential, the analyst tells investors. Raymond, who thinks it is more prudent to reserve judgment until initial human data slated for the end of June is available, keeps a Neutral rating on Inovio shares.
INO closed at $14.50, last traded at $17.00
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