Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) is trailing the leaders with its coronavirus vaccine, INO-4800. Some of the slow start is tied to manufacturing issues for one of the inputs for the vaccine. In this video from Motley Fool Live recorded on Dec. 7, Corinne Cardina, bureau chief of healthcare and cannabis, and Fool.com contributor Brian Orelli discuss the issues and where Inovio is in the development of its vaccine candidate.
Corinne Cardina: Inovio announced that it is expanding its plasmid manufacturing capabilities by adding an agreement with Kaneka Eurogentec. Can you explain what Inovio's DNA vaccine mechanism is, and whether this is innovative?
Brian Orelli: This is INO-4800. It's a DNA-based vaccine, so that you put the DNA into the patients, then it makes mRNA just like the mRNA vaccines do, and then the mRNA makes proteins, and the body recognizes it as foreign and creates antibodies. There are contractors that are making the DNA plasmid part of the DNA vaccine.
Cardina: What does this new contract tell us about Inovio's plans for its COVID vaccine candidate, and can you remind us where it is in the pipeline?
Orelli: The first manufacturer that they had for the DNA plasmids couldn't meet the goal of making 100 million doses, and then that company wouldn't release it's tech to third-party manufacturers because Inovio was trying to get third-party manufacturers. This new company has their own tech, so they don't need the tech released. So they're going to make the DNA.
It's in phase 2 development. The big risk here, compared to other companies, is that they need a delivery system, so they have a machine that injects the DNA into your cells. So they have to not only develop the vaccine, but they also have to develop this injection system. So I think that's the biggest risk with Inovio.