Inovio rises on $56M Lassa, MERS vaccine funding

HIV26
Joseph Kim is CEO and co-founder of Inovio Pharmaceuticals in Plymouth Meeting, a biotechnology company developing DNA-based vaccines for HIV, Zika virus, Ebola, MERS, and immunotherapies to treat cancer.

Shares of Inovio Pharmaceuticals rose as much as 5 percent in pre-market trading Wednesday morning after the Plymouth Meeting-based vaccine maker said the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) has agreed to invest up to $56 million in Inovio’s work to develop its INO-4500 vaccine for Lassa hemorrhagic fever, which is spread by rats, and its INO-4700 vaccine to fight Middle East Respiratory System Coronavirus (MERS). The stock closed up 2.94% at $4.90.

“The shared goal of Inovio and CEPI is for the Lassa and MERS vaccines to be available as soon as possible for emergency use,” Inovio and COPI said in this joint statement. The coalition has raised $630 million from the governments of Norway, Germany, Japan, Australia, Belgium, and Canada, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Britain’s Wellcome, and hopes to raise another $370 million to back its work in rushing emergency vaccines to market.

Inovio also develops immune therapies in partnership with biopharma companies — including MedImmune, Regeneron, and Genentech, among others; universities and foundations, including Wistar Institute, the University of Pennsylvania, the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Drexel University, and Laval University in Canada; and federal and military programs including NIH and DARPA, among others.