July 30, 2020 / 12:33 PM / 12 days ago

Inovio vaccine candidate shows promise in non-human study

(Reuters) - Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said on Thursday its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was effective in protecting rhesus macaques from the virus 13 weeks after the last vaccination.

Shares of the company were up 6% before the bell.

Results from the study of the vaccine, INO-4800, in monkeys demonstrate that it reduced viral load in lower lungs and nasal passages in those who received two doses of the vaccine four weeks apart.

“INO-4800 could provide protection in a more real-world setting,” said Chief Executive Officer J. Joseph Kim said referring to the study results, which were submitted to a peer-reviewed journal and also published on the non-peer reviewed preprint site, bioRxiv.

Earlier in the day, Johnson & Johnson kicked off U.S. human safety trials for its vaccine candidate, after it showed strong protection in monkeys in a single dose.

Inovio in June said the experimental coronavirus vaccine, which is part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed program, showed promise and was found to be safe in an early-stage human trial.

Reporting by Ankur Banerjee and Trisha Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli

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