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Inovio received a $71-million contract from the US Department of Defense to scale up manufacture of its Cellectra smart device to deliver its DNA vaccine.
Inovio has received $71 million in funding from the United States Department of Defense (DoD) to support the large-scale manufacture of the company's proprietary Cellectra 3PSP smart device and the procurement of Cellectra 2000 devices, which are used to deliver Inovio’s COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800, directly into the skin, the company said in a June 23, 2020 press release.
INO-4800 is a DNA vaccine that targets the major surface antigen spike protein of SARS-CoV-2. Interim results of US Phase 1 clinical studies of INO-4800 will be available later in June, and a Phase 2/3 efficacy trial is planned to begin in July or August 2020.
Initial development of Inovio’s device began in 2019 with $8.1 million in funding from the medical arm of the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Medical CBRN [Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear] Defense Consortium. In 2020, Inovio also received funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) to accelerate the testing of the device.
"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 2000 patients in over 7000 administrations of Inovio's DNA medicines,” said J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s president and CEO, in the press release. “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."
The portable, hand-held device runs on AA batteries and is designed to function reliably in challenging environments. It can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance. Inovio said in the press release that it had produced initial quantities of the device at its San Diego, CA manufacturing site and has demonstrated that the design and scale-up of the manufacturing processes can be transferred to contract manufacturers in order to further increase supply.