Inovio, Thermo Fisher partner to scale up production of COVID-19 vaccine candidate

Second and third phase trials are said to begin in September, depending upon FDA clearance

Inovio Pharmaceuticals announced Tuesday that Thermo Fisher Scientific will manufacture the company's experimental COVID-19 vaccine candidate.

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Amid the worldwide race to find a treatment, Thermo Fisher will effectively join other third-party manufacturers helping Inovio scale up production of its experimental vaccine, INO-4800.

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The Pennsylvania biotech company plans to have 100 million doses of its vaccine in 2021 subject to "FDA approval of INO-4800 for use as a COVID-19 vaccine," Inovio said in its announcement, adding that Thermo Fisher will play a central role to hitting that mark.

If approved, it'll be a first for Inovio, which has never received FDA approval to bring a vaccine candidate to market throughout its history, according to multiple reports.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
INOINOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS16.98-0.71-4.01%
TMOTHERMO FISHER SCIENTIFIC430.24+4.77+1.12%

"Thermo Fisher's global capabilities and scale will be central to our production progress – the organization's commitment to quality, reliable production will be key to our ability to meet the urgent, global demand for a safe and effective vaccine against COVID-19," Inovio CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim said.

Thermo Fisher says it remains "extremely well-positioned to support Inovio on its mission" and that at peak capacity, it projects it could hit that 100 million mark annually.

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Like AstraZeneca, BioNTech, GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, Moderna, Novavax, Pfizer and Sanofi, Inovio has been racing to develop a vaccine.

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However, unlike some companies' potential vaccine candidates which have to be frozen at -112 degrees Fahrenheit to remain stable, Inovio's candidate does not need to be frozen during transport of storage.

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This is a "vital factor when implementing immunizations on a global scale," the company said Tuesday.

The company is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial of its experimental vaccine in the United States and has submitted the full trial results for the first 40 subjects for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Its second and third phase trials are said to begin in September, depending upon FDA clearance.

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