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COVID-19 roundup: Inovio starts vaccine trial; plus updates from RedHill, Hope, CytoDyn, Gilead, Takeda, AACR and UNC-Emory

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Inovio looks to be the second company after Moderna to start a U.S. trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, kicking the study off several months ahead of its previously projected summer trial start date. Outside of vaccines, companies including RedHill, Hope and CytoDyn are moving their coronavirus therapies into more patients.

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) said it plans to dose the first patient Monday in a Phase I trial for its DNA-based COVID-19 vaccine, INO-4800. Initial immune responses and safety data are expected by late summer.

Participant screening has begun for the trial, which will enroll up to 40 healthy adult volunteers at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City to receive two doses of INO-4800 four weeks apart.

Inovio said that animal models have showed promising immune responses to the vaccine; further preclinical testing, including challenge studies, will continue in parallel with the Phase I trial.

Thus far, Inovio has manufactured

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