Coronavirus Vaccine Delivery Smart Device Gains $71 Million Funding

Inovio CELLECTRA 3PSP delivers the INO-4800 vaccine candidate directly into the skin driving a robust immune response
coronavirus and cells depicted
(Precision Vaccinations)

A Pennsylvania based biotechnology company announced it has received $71 million funding from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to support the large-scale manufacture of the company's proprietary CELLECTRA® 3PSP smart device and the procurement of CELLECTRA® 2000 devices.

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

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

INO-4800 is a DNA vaccine candidate matched to the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease in humans.

The initial development of this next generation CELLECTRA® 3PSP smart device began 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.

The CELLECTRA device uses a brief electrical pulse to reversibly open small pores in the cell to allow the plasmids to enter, overcoming a key limitation of other DNA and other nucleic acid approaches, such as mRNA. 

Once inside the cell, the DNA plasmids enable the cell to produce the targeted antigen. 

The antigen is processed naturally in the cell and triggers the desired T cell and antibody-mediated immune responses. 

Vaccine administration with the CELLECTRA device is designed to ensure that the DNA medicine is efficiently delivered directly into the body's cells, where it can go to work to drive an immune response. 

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, INOVIO's President, and CEO said in a press statement, "This next-generation smart device leverages the efficacy delivery and safety track record of an earlier version that has received CE mark certification and has been used in clinical trials to safely dose more than 2,000 patients in over 7,000 administrations of INOVIO's DNA medicines.”

“The current DoD contract further supports INOVIO's large-scale production of devices and arrays to deliver potentially hundreds of millions of doses of INO-4800 next year to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic."

INO-4800 was designed using INOVIO's proprietary DNA medicine platform rapidly after the publication of the genetic sequence of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

INO-4800 is the only nucleic-acid based vaccine that is stable at room temperature for more than a year and does not require to be frozen in transport or storage, which are important factors when implementing mass immunizations.

DNA medicines are composed of optimized DNA plasmids, which are small circles of double-stranded DNA that are synthesized or reorganized by a computer sequencing technology and designed to produce a specific immune response in the body, stated the company.

INOVIO's DNA medicines do not interfere with or change in any way an individual's own DNA.

The advantages of INOVIO's DNA medicine platform are how fast DNA medicines can be designed and manufactured, the stability of the products which do not require freezing in storage and transport, and the robust immune response, safety profile, and tolerability that have been demonstrated in clinical trials.

With more than 2,000 patients receiving INOVIO investigational DNA medicines in more than 7,000 applications across a range of clinical trials, INOVIO has a strong track record of rapidly generating DNA medicine candidates with the potential to meet urgent global health needs.

INOVIO has extensive experience working with coronaviruses and is the only company with a vaccine in Phase 2 development for a related coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), the INO-4700

Precision Vaccinations publishes vaccine development news.