Shares of iBio (IBIO -2.10%) climbed on Friday after the biotech announced plans to develop an intriguing second-generation vaccine candidate for COVID-19. By the close of trading, iBio's stock price was up 16.7% after rising as much as 41.3% earlier in the day.
iBio's experimental vaccine, IBIO-202, targets the nucleocapsid protein (N protein) of the novel coronavirus. N proteins tend to produce an immune response and remain relatively unchanged during mutations. By targeting the N protein, iBio hopes to develop a vaccine that will be highly effective against new coronavirus variants.
"The N protein strategy of IBIO-202 is complementary to existing first-generation, S protein-directed vaccines and may be suitable as a more universal coronavirus vaccine," iBios' chief scientific officer, Martin Brenner, said in a press release.
iBio used its plant-based FastPharming System to express N protein antigens and has begun preclinical studies, the results of which are expected in its fiscal 2022 first quarter.
iBio acknowledged that competition is intense in the COVID-19 vaccine space. Yet management correctly believes there is still room for new vaccines that can help to defend against emerging coronavirus strains. Thus, should IBIO-202 prove safe and effective in clinical trials, there would likely be strong global demand for iBio's new vaccine.