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Inovio Gets $71 Mln DoD Contract To Scale Up Cellectra 3PSP Smart Device Manufacture

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (INO) said Thursday it has received $71 million funding from the U.S. Department of Defense or DoD to support the large-scale manufacture of the company's proprietary CELLECTRA 3PSP smart device and the procurement of CELLECTRA 2000 devices, which are used to deliver INO-4800 directly into the skin.

INO-4800 is Inovio's DNA vaccine candidate being developed to protect against the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.

CELLECTRA 3PSP is designed to deliver INO-4800 directly into the skin, where the vaccine prompts the body's immune system to drive a robust immune response.

According to Inovio, interim results of U.S. Phase 1 clinical studies of INO-4800 will be available later this month. The company is planning a Phase 2/3 efficacy trial to begin this summer in July/August.

CELLECTRA 3PSP is a small, portable, hand-held, user-friendly device that runs on "AA" batteries. The device is designed to function reliably in challenging environments and can be stockpiled in large quantities without maintenance, characteristics that are critical in a pandemic situation.

While Inovio's San Diego device manufacturing facility has produced initial quantities of the device, the company has said that the design and scale-up of the manufacturing processes can be transferred to contract manufacturers to further increase supply.

The DoD contract, from the JPEO-CRBND-EB through funding provided by the Defense Health Program, builds upon two separate prior $5 million grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations or CEPI, to accelerate the testing of CELLECTRA 3PSP.

Initial development of this next generation CELLECTRA 3PSP smart device started in 2019, with $8.1 million in funding from the medical arm of the U.S. Defense Threat Reduction Agency's Medical CBRN Defense Consortium.

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