Inovio, Thermo Fisher partner to scale up production of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that Thermo Fisher Scientific will manufacture the company's experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

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Amid the worldwide race to find a treatment, Thermo Fisher will effectively join other third-party manufacturers helping Inovio scale up production of its experimental vaccine, INO-4800.

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The Pennsylvania biotech company plans to have 100 million doses of its vaccine in 2021 subject to "FDA approval of INO-4800 for use as a COVID-19 vaccine," Inovio said in its announcement, adding that Thermo Fisher will play a central role to hitting that mark.

If approved, it'll be a first for Inovio, which has never received FDA approval to bring a vaccine candidate to market throughout its history, according to multiple reports.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
INOINOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS9.61+0.04+0.42%
TMOTHERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC405.30-4.68-1.14%

"Thermo Fisher's global capabilities and scale will be central to our production progress – the organization's commitment to quality, reliable production will be key to our ability to meet the urgent, global demand for a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19," Inovio CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim said.

Thermo Fisher says it remains "extremely well-positioned to support Inovio on its mission" and that at peak capacity, it projects it could hit that 100 million mark annually.

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Like AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi, Inovio has been racing to develop a vaccine.

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However, unlike some companies' potential vaccine candidates which have to be frozen at -112 degrees Fahrenheit to remain stable, Inovio's candidate does not need to be frozen during transport of storage.

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This is a "vital factor when implementing immunizations on a global scale," the company said Tuesday.

The company is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial of its experimental vaccine in the United States and has submitted the full trial results for the first 40 subjects for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Its second and third phase trials are said to begin in September, depending upon FDA clearance.

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