The pharmaceutical company Inovio plans to begin a Phase 2/3 clinical trial of its Covid-19 vaccine candidate this month, according to company president and CEO Dr. Joseph Kim.
“We’re a few months behind some of the early leaders in the Phase 3 trials, but we feel the positive attributes of our DNA vaccine will provide a great alternative in terms of safety and product stability and efficacy,” Kim told CNN Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen.
How it works: Inovio's vaccine technology works by delivering particles of DNA directly into cells, triggering an immune response to the novel coronavirus inside the cells.
The Phase 2/3 clinical trial was first announced in August on an earnings call.
Inovio plans to enroll 6,000 to 10,000 volunteers in the study. That’s less than the 30,000 volunteers who are being enrolled in clinical trials for several other Covid-19 vaccine candidates.
Kim said the trial will be smaller than others because they’ll be targeting high-risk people, such as factory workers.
In August, Inovio shared results of small a Phase 1 clinical trial involving 40 volunteers. Side effects were mild, and the vaccine showed evidence of neutralizing antibodies and T cell responses.
The data has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
Inovio’s Covid-19 vaccine is being funded, in part, by the US Department of Defense, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.
The company has not received funding from Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s initiative to fast-track the development and delivery of a Covid-19 vaccine.
Three Phase 3 trials have already started in the US. Two other companies are also scheduled to begin Phase 3 trials this month, according to Moncef Slaoui, chief adviser of Operation Warp Speed.
Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline expect to start a Phase 3 trial in the US by the end of the year.