Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) said today that the U.S. government will discontinue funding for the Phase 3 segment of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate as the increasing availability of vaccines authorized for emergency use, while continuing to fund the completion of the ongoing Phase 2 segment.
According to the company's statement, the U.S. Department of Defense told Inovio that the decision results from the changing environment of COVID-19 with the rapid deployment of vaccines. This decision is not a reflection of the awardee or product, rather a fast-moving environment associated with the former Operation Warp Speed on decisions related to future products.
The company is planning for a Phase 3 trial for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, INO-4800, mostly outside the United States, based on upcoming evaluation of Phase 2 safety and immunogenicity data. And it is partnering with existing global collaborators such as its China partner, Advaccine, and the International Vaccine Institute.
I think that Inovio just lost some R&D funds, which doesn't mean it lost the U.S. market. Currently, the demand for COVID-19 vaccine is extremely high across the globe, but it cannot be achieved that establishing immunization population about worldwide in a short period of time and some people may even be vaccinated multiple times. INOVIO still has the opportunity and time to acquire success with INO-4800.
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