Inovio Pharmaceutical Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) shares jumped almost 15% after the company announced that it had received $71 million from the Department of Defense to manufacture a handheld device that will deliver its COVID-19 vaccine.
DoD funding INOVIO initiatives
The funding from DoD is part of an agreement for the purchase of an unrevealed number of handheld devices. The company is currently testing its COVID-19 vaccine candidate in a first phase clinical trial. The company’s DNA vaccine candidate, INO-4800, has already demonstrated promising potential in animal trials. The phase 1 study is involving around 40 healthy volunteers in two locations in Kansas City and Philadelphia.
Inovio expects to release interim results from this study that is funded by CEPU in the summers. The company had previously entered funding agreements with DoD for the development of its COVID-19 vaccine, INO-4800.
INOVIO expands executive leadership
The company has also announced an expansion to its senior executive team following the appointment of two seasoned executives to spearhead operations in the Asian Market. They will also lead to the advancement of the clinical development of INO-4800.
The company has appointed Gene Kim as the president of its wholly-owned subsidiary based in South Korea, INOVIO Asia. Kim has served as a CFO of several listed companies, Koreas, and he will report to Joseph Kim, the CEO of INOVIO. Also, Mammen (Anza) Mammen is joining the company as SVP clinical development. Mammen is an ex-US military pandemic and vaccine expert, and he will be responsible for overseeing the clinical development of the company’s DNA COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
INOVIO president and CEO Joseph Ki stated that the two leaders will bring massive expertise to the company, which will help the company advance the development and marketing of DNA vaccines and medicines. He added that because of his experience, Gene Kim will help the company grow in the Asian market and lead the company’s corporate development initiatives in South Korea and Asia in general. The CEO added that Mammen’s product development expertise and infectious disease background will be vital in Moving INO-480o to efficacy trials.