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Inovio CEO Says 'It's Possible' For Coronavirus Vaccine To Be Ready In 12 To 18 Months

Inovio CEO Says 'It's Possible' For Coronavirus Vaccine To Be Ready In 12 To 18 Months

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) chief executive officer Joseph Kim told CNBC on Thursday that it's possible to meet the timeline of 12 to 18 months for a novel coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine suggested by White House Coronavirus Task Force leader member Anthony Fauci.

What Happened

"It's possible," Kim said in an interview with CNBC's Jim Cramer, "especially if you have a platform that's shown to be safe and if you have tested similar approaches before against other pathogens, like we have."

Inovio began the first phase of its clinical trials earlier in April. Kim added that the pharmaceutical company expects to finish enrolling all 40 volunteers for this stage by the end of the month.

The Pennsylvania company has been screening volunteers at a medical center in Kansas City, Missouri.

Inovio intends to collaborate with private institutes like the University of Pennsylvania, should its coronavirus vaccine enter phase two trials.

"It helps that [the University of Pennsylvania is] my alma mater and we've done collaborative work over the years," Kim told CNBC.

Inovio has received funding from the Pentagon and non-governmental organizations like Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MSFT) co-founder's Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Norway's Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Kim told Cramer that he expects "this global network of funders to even grow in the coming weeks and months."

Why It Matters

Inovio was the second company to start coronavirus vaccine trials in the United States after Moderna Inc. (NASDAQ: MRNA), which began the phase one trials in March.

Others, including Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE), are working on developing a vaccine for the deadly virus as well.

Oxford University began the first phase of its coronavirus vaccine trial earlier on Thursday, and China's CanSino Biological is reported to be in phase two of the trials.

Fauci had earlier suggested that even a vaccine developed at a rapid pace is unlikely to be available before 12 to 18 months. Some other experts consider even that to be too short a time to develop a safe vaccine.

Price Action

Inovio's shares closed 2.7% higher at $12.03 on Thursday. The shares added another 3% in the after-hours session at $12.40.


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Posted-In: CNBC Coronavirus Covid-19 vaccineNews Health Care Media General Best of Benzinga

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