VGXI announces release of new coronavirus vaccine; first clinical study to begin April 6

The Woodlands-based DNA manufacturer first announced it was working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in January. (Courtesy VGXI Inc.)
The Woodlands-based DNA manufacturer first announced it was working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in January. (Courtesy VGXI Inc.)

The Woodlands-based DNA manufacturer first announced it was working to produce a COVID-19 vaccine in January. (Courtesy VGXI Inc.)

VGXI Inc. announced April 6 that it had completed the manufacturing process for its COVID-19 DNA vaccine.

The Woodlands-based plasmid DNA manufacturer first announced it was producing a vaccine for the new coronavirus in late January, after it was selected by Inovio Pharmaceuticals as a production partner under a $9 million grant from the Oslo-based Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation.

“The dedicated team at VGXI has worked tirelessly to meet this challenge,” VGXI CEO Young Park said in a statement. “Within a fraction of the typical manufacturing timeline, VGXI has manufactured and released a vaccine for human clinical testing. We are proud to be a part of the global effort to address the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Inovio said its Investigational New Drug application for the vaccine had been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the first phase of clinical testing would begin April 6 at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and the Center for Pharmaceutical Research in Kansas City, Missouri. VGXI said Inovio is also coordinating clinical trials in China and South Korea.

Initial results from the clinical trial of up to 40 volunteers are expected by late summer, Inovio said, with additional vaccine studies continuing alongside the clinical trial.


"We anticipate rapid enrollment of this initial study," said Dr. Pablo Tebas, a medical professor and infectious disease specialist at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, in a statement. "There has been tremendous interest in this vaccine among people who want to do what they can to help protect the greater public from this pandemic as soon as possible."

VGXI said thousands of vaccine doses were produced within two months, up to four times faster than typical plasmid DNA production. The company has scheduled large-scale manufacturing of the vaccine in the second quarter this year, and Inovio said it plans to have 1 million doses of the vaccine available by the end of 2020 for further trials and possible emergency use.

"Producing a COVID-19 vaccine within the next 12 to 18 months is not only a scientific challenge; it will also require new levels of collaboration and investment across industry and government,” CEPI CEO Richard Hatchett said in a statement. “There is still a long road ahead before we have a safe, effective, and globally accessible vaccine ready for broader use, but today we have reached an important milestone on that journey."
By Ben Thompson
Ben joined Community Impact Newspaper in January 2019 and is a reporter for The Woodlands edition.


MOST RECENT

Harris County Flood Control District is planning to submit preliminary flood plain maps to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in late 2021. (Kelly Schafler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County's preliminary flood plain maps to be released in late 2021

The new flood insurance rates in Harris County could take effect in 2023 or 2024.

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced the opening of a COVID-19 vaccine waitlist at a Jan. 25 press conference. (Screenshot courtesy Facebook)
Harris County to open waitlist for COVID-19 vaccines Jan. 26

Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo warned that vaccine supply remains "extremely limited," and it will still take time for those waitlisted to get an appointment.

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 filed a counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS on Jan. 22. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County ESD No. 11 issues counterclaim against Cypress Creek EMS for $20 million

According to the counterclaim, the district is suing Cypress Creek Emergency Medical Services for about $20 million in “missing and stolen taxpayer funds.”

The Woodlands Christian Academy theater program, pictured here performing "The Diary of Anne Frank," is part of its fine arts department under new leadership. (Courtesy The Woodlands Christian Academy)
The Woodlands Christian Academy welcomes first fine arts director

In the 2020-21 school year, The Woodlands Christian Academy has brought its fine arts programs together under its first director of fine arts, Phil Sweger, to coordinate creative programs.

Montgomery County's two COVID-19 vaccine hubs received allocations of around 2,000 doses each this week. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Montgomery County's 2nd vaccine hub set in The Woodlands; Conroe hub, public health district to get more doses

The Woodlands hospital hub now offers vaccines on an invitation-only basis, and those interested in future vaccination may join the hospital's waitlist.

Preregistration does not guarantee an appointment. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UPDATED: Montgomery County COVID-19 vaccination preregistration full in 30 minutes; Conroe hub plans Jan. 25 registration

The Montgomery County Public Health District's initial preregistration for COVID-19 vaccinations filled in less than 30 minutes after the program's launch Jan. 25.

The John Cooper School is located in The Woodlands. (Courtesy The John Cooper School)
A guide to private schools in The Woodlands area in 2021

Our annual guide includes a number of schools in The Woodlands area serving elementary through high school grades.

The Woodlands Township board meetings returned to a videoconference format Jan. 21. (Screenshot courtesy The Woodlands Township)
The Woodlands approves contract changes with Shenandoah for policing in mall, Market Street area

The Woodlands Township board of directors returned to a video conference format for its January meetings.

Retail locations began to open at Metropark Square in 2020. (Andrew Christman/Community Impact Newspaper)
Second phase announced for Metropark Square development focusing on 324-unit apartment complex

The Sam Moon Group has announced plans for moving its Metropark Square development, located off of I-45 in Shenandoah, into its second phase later this year.

Less than 7,000 COVID-19 cases remained active in Montgomery County as of Jan. 22. (Community Impact staff)
Montgomery County's active COVID-19 case count falls below 7K, 7 new deaths reported Jan. 20-22

Active cases in the county fell by several hundred this week, while COVID-19 hospitalizations among residents reached a new high.

Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 met Jan. 21 at its new administrative offices. (Andy Li/Community Impact Newspaper)
Harris County Emergency Services District No. 11 lays groundwork for 911 dispatching plans

Cypress Creek EMS currently serves as a dispatch facility for 17 emergency agencies.