MERS

Inovio announced last week that it has dosed the first participant in a Phase 2 study of its INO-4700 DNA vaccine against MERS. The multicenter trial—funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI)—will involve approximately 500 healthy adults in Jordan and Lebanon.

According to the press release, Inovio and CEPI plan to make a stockpile of INO-4700 “available for emergency use as soon as possible following Phase 2 testing.”

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Vaccine makers Vaccitech and Valneva separately filed plans last week for initial public offerings on Nasdaq.

Oxford-based Vaccitech is the Jenner Institute spinout that owns the technology underlying the AstraZeneca/Oxford Covid-19 vaccine. Its pipeline includes a Phase 1 MERS vaccine and a preclinical zoster shot.

France’s Valneva, already listed on Euronext and proposing to list American depositary shares via a new offering, is seeking regulatory clearance to advance its…

Seoul’s International Vaccine Institute (IVI) announced last week that South Korea-based Sumagen will pursue recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus (rVSV)-based vaccines against MERS and Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever with $1.2 million in funding, to include work on wider pandemic response platforms. The project is part of a collaboration between IVI and the government-sponsored Vaccine Innovative Technology Alliance Korea (VITAL-Korea) initiative.

Sumagen’s rVSV-based Covid-19…

Inovio and Seoul’s GeneOne Life Sciences announced positive Phase 1/2a results yesterday showing that their Middle East respiratory syndrome DNA vaccine candidate was safe and produced “100 percent binding and 92 percent neutralizing antibody responses” against MERS-CoV.

Inovio’s press release said the Pennsylvania-based company plans to conduct Phase 2 field trials of INO-4700 in the Middle East using $56 million of previously announced funding from the Coalition for Epidemic…

The Lancet Infectious Diseases published two Phase 1 studies this week evaluating separate vaccine candidates for Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS).

In the first study, a team of Oxford-led researchers found that university-spinoff Vaccitech’s simian adenovirus-vectored ChAdOx1 MERS vaccine was safe and well-tolerated at all tested doses, and a single high-dose shot improved immunogenicity at 12 months.

Next, German researchers found that a two-dose regimen of IDT Biologika…

University of Oxford spinoff Vaccitech announced last week that it has started a Phase 1 trial in Saudi Arabia of its Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus vaccine candidate, ChAdOx1-MERS.

In 2018, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations awarded Oxford’s Jenner Institute $14.6 million to support Phase 1 testing and manufacturing for later phases of the shot.

CEPI is funding other MERS candidates from IDT Biologika, Inovio and Themis. Chinese company Zhifei is…

Themis announced yesterday that it has started Phase 1 trials of MV-LASV—a recombinant live-attenuated Lassa fever vaccine candidate based on the Austrian company’s proprietary measles vector platform.

Last year, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) awarded Themis up to $37.5 million to take its Lassa and MERS vaccines through Phase 2. In June, CEPI announced it would also give the company $21 million to bring its chikungunya vaccine through Phase 3.

Themis Bioscience revealed last week that it has signed an exclusive license with Merck to develop vaccine candidates using Themis’s measles virus vector-based platform. The Austrian biotech did not disclose the disease targets or how much it is receiving in research funding and equity investment but divulged potential development and sales milestone payments of up to $200 million.

The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations has awarded Themis $58.5 million over the past two…

The Lancet Infectious Diseases published results last week showing Inovio’s Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) vaccine candidate succeeded in Phase 1 of the first human vaccine trial. The DNA vaccine was well tolerated and produced immune responses in more than 85 percent of the 75 adult participants “durable to one year of follow-up.”

Inovio’s press release said the company plans to conduct Phase 2 field trials of INO-4700 in the Middle East, funded by the Coalition for…

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Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced today that it is chopping 28 percent of its workforce, cutting “selected early-stage R&D programs” and discontinuing its advanced bladder cancer Phase 1/2 trial. Inovio said the company will now focus on its later-stage HPV programs while investing more in glioblastoma, recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, and DNA-encoded bispecific T-cell engagers.

Mentioned as “unaffected” are the company’s partner-funded programs with…