Inovio’s COVID-19 vaccine outcome will affect future of other DNA-based pipeline assets, says GlobalData

Inovio was one of the first of the over 200 companies to enter the pre-clinical development of a prophylactic COVID-19 vaccine (INO-4800), but the progress of any other program threatens Inovio’s success and market capitalization and INO-4800 could contribute up to 90% of Inovio’s revenue in 2022. The success or failure of INO-4800 will have a significant impact on Inovio’s future and other DNA-based pipeline assets for non-COVID-19 diseases, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

While INO-4800, which is in Phase I, has an early lead in the discovery phase for a vaccine candidate, there are multiple COVID-19 vaccines already in Phase II of clinical trials. However, Inovio announced positive interim Phase I data for INO-4800 at the end of June 2020. Phase I results of INO-4800 in China are expected in September 2020.

Johanna Swanson, Product Manager at GlobalData, comments: “INO-4800 has many strengths, including being developed in conjunction with multiple institutional and government funders and it can be more readily mass-produced than other vaccines. It was also selected for the US government’s Operation Warp Speed, which will provide it with access to governmental funding for development, manufacturing and distribution. The success of INO-4800 can demonstrate the potential of Inovio’s DNA vaccine platform.”

However, INO-4800 has some weaknesses, including requiring a specialized and potentially painful electroporation device for delivery of the mechanism that requires larger volumes of vaccine than other traditional vaccines.

Swanson continues: “The efficacy of the DNA vaccine platform in humans is yet to be proven. There have been past failures by Inovio in commercializing a vaccine for H1N1 swine flu, H7N9 avian flu, Ebola and Zika. Inovio has 31 discontinued or inactive R&D projects at this time.”

Phase I/II results of INO-4800 in South Korea are expected in September 2020 and a Phase II/III clinical study of INO-4800 is expected to initiate in August 2020. The commercial launch for INO-4800 is expected in 2021.

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