Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) has announced that it received $71 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to support the production of its delivery device for the COVID-19 vaccine. The news gave shares a boost Tuesday morning.
The $71 million will fund the large-scale manufacture of Inovio’s proprietary Cellectra 3PSP smart device and the procurement of Cellectra 200 devices, which are used to deliver INO-4800 directly into the skin.
Cellectra 3PSP is a small, portable, hand-held device that runs on AA batteries. The device is designed to function reliably in challenging environments and can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance
Look for interim results of Inovio’s Phase 1 clinical studies of INO-4800 will later this month. A Phase 2/3 efficacy trial is planned to begin this summer (July/August).
The DoD contract builds on two separate prior $5 million grants, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, to accelerate the testing of Cellectra 3PSP. Initial development of this next generation Cellectra 3PSP smart device began in 2019 with $8.1 million in funding from the medical arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency’s Medical CBRN Defense Consortium.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s president and chief executive, said, “This next generation smart device leverages the efficacy delivery and safety track record of an earlier version that has received CE mark certification and has been used in clinical trials to safely dose more than 2,000 patients in over 7,000 administrations of INOVIO’s DNA medicines.” He added, “The current DoD contract further supports INOVIO’s large-scale production of devices and arrays to deliver potentially hundreds of millions of doses of INO-4800 next year to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic.”
Inovio Pharmaceuticals stock traded up about 16% on Tuesday to $17.82, in a 52-week range of $1.92 to $19.36. The consensus price target is $16.00.
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