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Inovio to begin mid-to-late stage study of COVID-19 vaccine candidate in September

(Reuters) – Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc expects its experimental COVID-19 vaccine to enter mid-to-late stage study in September and secure U.S. emergency use authorization sometime in 2021, the U.S. vaccine developer said on Monday.

The Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania-based company had previously said it would begin mid-stage human studies for the vaccine candidate, INO-4800, this summer.

Shares of the company were down 6% in trading after the bell.

Inovio is in active talks with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and awaits the agency’s approval to begin Phase 2/3 study in September, a company executive said during a post-earnings conference call.

The company in June reported encouraging results from an early stage human trial and received $71 million from the U.S. Department of Defense to scale up production of devices used to administer INO-4800.

Effective vaccines are seen as essential to controlling the pandemic that has claimed more than 731,700 lives worldwide, according to a Reuters tally.

Many drugmakers, including Moderna Inc, Pfizer Inc, Johnson & Johnson, Sanofi and AstraZeneca Plc, are also in various stages of developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

(Reporting by Manojna Maddipatla and Mrinalika Roy in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)

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