INOVIO announced that it has received a new $5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to accelerate the testing and scale up of CELLECTRA® 3PSP proprietary smart device for the intradermal delivery of INO-4800, a DNA vaccine for COVID-19. INO-4800 is in preclinical studies and is planned to advance into Phase 1 clinical trials in the U.S. in April with up to $9 million funding from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI). INOVIO plans to accelerate the testing and scale up of the CELLECTRA 3PSP devices to support large scale manufacturing of INO-4800 doses by the end of 2020.
The next generation CELLECTRA 3PSP device is designed specifically for a COVID-19 type pandemic scenario. It is a small, portable, hand-held, user-friendly device that runs on readily available “AA” batteries. This allows for stockpiling of the device in quantity without maintenance. It is easy to use and is based on the company’s current device with extensive history (over 6,000 administrations) which has received the CE mark and has an acceptable safety profile. The streamlined design also allows it to be readily produced at reduced costs and large scale.
Initial development of CELLECTRA 3PSP was started in 2019 with $8.1 million funding from the medical arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA)’s Medical CBRN Defense Consortium.
About Inovio’s DNA Medicines
DNA medicines are composed of optimized DNA plasmids, which are small circles of double-stranded DNA that are synthesized or reorganized by a computer sequencing technology and designed to produce a specific immune response in the body.
INOVIO’s DNA medicines deliver optimized plasmids directly into cells intramuscularly or intradermally using INOVIO’s proprietary hand-held smart device called CELLECTRA®. CELLECTRA® uses a brief electrical pulse to open small pores in the cell reversibly to allow the plasmids to enter, overcoming a key limitation of other DNA and mRNA approaches. Once inside the cell, the plasmids are used by the cell’s own machinery to generate coded antigens, which then stimulate an immune response, thereby strengthening the body’s own natural defense mechanisms. Administration with the CELLECTRA device ensures that the DNA medicine is delivered directly into the body’s cells, where it can go to work immediately mounting an immune response. INOVIO’s DNA medicines do not interfere with or change in any way an individual’s own DNA.
The advantages of INOVIO’s DNA medicine platform are how fast DNA medicines can be constructed and manufactured, the stability of the products which do not require freezing in storage and transport, and the robust immune response, safety profile and tolerability that have been demonstrated in clinical trials.