Inovio Pharmaceuticals on a race to deliver COVID-19 vaccine to the world receives $5M from Gates Foundation

Published 13 March 2020  |  
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Inovio Pharmaceuticals in San Diego that created vaccines for Zika and Ebola is now on a race to develop a vaccine for the novel coronavirus and deliver it to the world.

Using the proprietary DNA medicines platform technology, the company designed a vaccine in just three hours after the Chinese researchers shared the genetic sequence of COVID-19.

"In an outbreak setting we really don't have two to three years to wait for a vaccine, so that's where we come in at Inovio pharmaceuticals, we use DNA medicine technology," said Kate Broderick, the senior vice president of R&D at Inovio Pharmaceuticals in San Diego.

"It's a huge amount of responsibility on everyone's shoulders, and I think we feel genuinely compelled to do everything in our power, hence why no one complains about two hours of sleep, because this is a point in our careers we can truly, literally, make a difference in saving lives, right now," Broderick added.

"Infectious diseases are global and they don't care about boundaries and borders, everyone is affected from childhood all the way through seniors," said Phyllis Arthur, vice president of Infectious Diseases and Diagnostic Policy at BIO.

"One of the things we're seeing, from outbreak to outbreak, unfortunately, is we're getting faster at using platform technologies to build something that can be tried in humans sooner than we were the last time," said Arthur, who has been in the infectious disease industry for 20 years.

Inovio will deliver one million doses of the vaccine by the end of this year only after it begins the human trial in the U.S. followed by China and South Korea.

Meanwhile, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has granted $5 million to the pharmaceutical company to scale up the process and deliver a DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine to the world.

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