Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) has entered a manufacturing deal with Japan’s Kaneka Corp to manufacture its COVID-19 vaccine candidate. The US vaccine maker didn’t disclose the terms of the deal with Kaneka Eurogentec, a division of Kaneka Corp.
Inovio signs deal with Kaneka for vaccine manufacture
The company is currently conducting Phase II of its COVID-19 vaccine, INO-4800. The deal with Kaneka Eurogentec will help plasmid production to help the company hit its target of hundreds of millions of INO-4800 vaccines. Kaneka will replace the Korean-owned VGXI contract manufacturer with whom Inovio is currently engaged in a legal impasse.
Joseph Kim, Inovio’s CEO, said that the Kaneka Eurogentec partnership offers the company more scale to its growing manufacturing coalition globally. Kaneka is among the most experienced and largest global plasmid manufacturers and will join a consortium of other manufacturers that include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Ology Bioservices, and Richter Helm BioLogoics. The company is looking to enhance the supply of its DNA vaccines that entered mid-stage trials in November.
Inovio contracts GMP approved organizations for the manufacture of INO-4800
Inovio indicated in a press release that all the contract development and manufacturing organizations that have joined the consortium are compliant with commercial GMP standards. They also can support Inovio’s large-scale manufacturing needs globally in the future across its DNA vaccines and medicines portfolio. Interestingly the company has not indicated the number of INO-4800 doses that the expanded consortium will produce.
It is encouraging for Inovio to have a new manufacturer on board for the production of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, as well as other projects. It is still unclear how the increase in manufacturing will impact the company’s business or the broader COVID-19 vaccine distribution landscape. Most importantly, INO-4800 is still far from possible approval considering it entered Phase II clinical trials last month after a hold from the FDA.
Phase III of the mid-to-late stage trial was under a partial hold from the FDA. The agency had requested additional information on the delivery device for the INO-4800 vaccine.