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Inovio Coronavirus Vaccine Study Shows Months Of Immunity In Primates, Sending Stock Higher

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Inovio Coronavirus Vaccine Study Shows Months Of Immunity In Primates, Sending Stock Higher

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: INO) shares were moving to the upside Thursday after slipping 6.3% in the prior session. 

What Happened: Plymouth, Pennsylvania-based Inovio, which is developing a DNA vaccine codenamed INO-4800 against the novel coronavirus, said the investigational vaccine was found effective in protecting rhesus macaques from a live virus challenge 13 weeks after the last vaccination.

Macaques receiving two 1mg doses of INO-4800  four weeks apart were challenged with live virus 13 weeks after the second dose — week 17 of the study.

INO-4800 was found to be effective in reducing viral load in both the lower lungs and nasal passages, the company said.

The protection was achieved due to memory T and B cell immune responses from INO-4800, according to Inovio.

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Why It's Important: Inovio said INO-treated animals demonstrated seroconversion after a single dose of vaccine, with protective neutralizing antibodies and T cells lasting in the blood for more than four months after the initial dose.

More importantly, the antibody levels and T cell responses were significantly higher than found in convalescent patients, the company said. 

Unlike previously reported monkey vaccine challenge studies that were conducted at the time of peak immune responses — one to four weeks from the last vaccination — INO-4800 offered memory immune response, Inovio said.

"We are very encouraged with the duration of protection that INO-4800 demonstrated in this NHP study and look forward to reassessing its impact on durability of response at 12 months out from our other ongoing non-human primate and animal challenge studies," Kate Broderick, Inovio's senior vice president of R&D, said in a statement. 

INO-4800 is being evaluated in a Phase 1 study in the U.S., and preliminary results from the study released in late June showed an overall immunological response rate of 94%. The company said it expects to commence a Phase 2/3 trial in summer.

INO Price Action: Inovio shares were trading 9.45% higher at $21.32 at last check Thursday. 

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