Pennsylvania-based Inovio Pharma announced yesterday it designed a vaccine for the novel coronavirus using its proprietary DNA-antigen technology. This is not Inovio’s first coronavirus vaccine but it places the small company in the spotlight for solutions to a potential pandemic.

Variant forms of coronaviruses have been around for at least 10,000 years.   The term refers to the characteristic appearance of the virus particles (virons).   However, the 2019 outbreak in Wuhan, China is designated COVID-19 has killed over one thousand three hundred (1,300) individuals. 

Map of China showing coronavirus outbreak and symptoms on human body.
The COVID-19 virus has taken over 1,300 lives as of February 17, 2020.

Inovio’s Patent Holdings

Inovio holds twenty-five (25) granted United States patents focused on vaccines and related technologies.   The vaccines target everything from smallpox to hepatitis C.   Inovio claimed that once the Chinese government disclosed the COVID-19 DNA sequence, Inovio only needed two hours to design the vaccine and send it to manufacture using its IMMUNO-INGENUITY® branded DNA sequencing technology.    Inovio expects to begin human-testing in the next few months.  

Inovio has patented it’s vaccines in the past and there is little doubt it has filed pending patent applications on the COVID-19 vaccine.

110,548,971MERS-CoV vaccine
210,398,769Influenza nucleic acid molecules and vaccines made therefrom
310,232,030Vaccines for human papilloma virus and methods for using the same
410,226,526Vaccines for human papilloma virus and methods for using the same
510,220,082WT1 vaccine
610,166,288Vaccines having an antigen and interleukin-21 as an adjuvant
710,130,705Vaccines with interleukin-33 as an adjuvant
810,124,159Oral mucosal electroporation device and use thereof
910,087,240DNA antibody constructs and method of using same
1010,016,497MERS-CoV vaccine
119,993,545Foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) consensus proteins, coding sequences therefor and vaccines made therefrom
129,987,347Vaccines against multiple subtypes of dengue virus
139,913,885Consensus prostate antigens, nucleic acid molecule encoding the same and vaccine and uses comprising the same
149,669,091Vaccines having an antigen and interleukin-23 as an adjuvant
159,446,114Cross-protective arenavirus vaccines and their method of use
169,446,112Clostridium difficile DNA vaccine
179,399,056Consensus prostate antigens, nucleic acid molecule encoding the same and vaccine and uses comprising the same
189,156,891Vaccines and methods for using the same
199,156,890HCV vaccines and methods for using the same
209,109,014Foot and mouth disease virus (FMDV) consensus proteins, coding sequences therefor and vaccines made therefrom
219,034,313Nucleic acid molecules encoding rantes, and compositions comprising and methods of using the same
228,927,692Consensus prostate antigens, nucleic acid molecule encoding the same and vaccine and uses comprising the same
238,921,536HCV vaccines and methods for using the same
248,829,174HCV vaccines and methods for using the same
258,535,687Smallpox DNA vaccine and the antigens therein that elicit an immune response
Inovio’s Patent Portfolio as of February 17, 2020

Inovio was likely jump-started from funding from a U.S. Department of Defense grant to the University of Pennsylvania (U. Penn) for a smallpox vaccine over a decade ago.   U. Penn continues to be a stakeholder in Inovio’s patent portfolio including its most recent February 4, 2020, U.S. Patent 10,548,971 for a MERS-CoV coronavirus vaccine.