Inovio Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:INO) has kicked-off the recruitment process for its collaborative vaccine study for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
Along with GeneOne Life Science, the firm is co-developing its vaccine GLS-5300, with the trial set to make it the first MERS vaccine to be tested in humans.
The trial is in partnership with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research (WRAIR) in Maryland, where it is being conducted.
Joseph Kim, president and chief executive, said, “After partnering with WRAIR and receiving an IND approval from the FDA late last year, we are pleased to now open this trial with our collaborators.”
MERS attacks the lungs, and has so far been affected patients in more than 21 countries across the world, including the US, the UK and a number of countries in the Middle East.
“The MERS virus has triggered widespread outbreaks and deaths in the Middle East and Korea and the healthcare community is urgently exploring possible preventive and therapeutic solutions.”
Since 2012, MERS has infected over 1,600 people, with almost 600 deaths, a mortality rate of about 40%.
Last year, GLS-5300 produced 100% protection from a live version of the virus in a rhesus macaque non-human primate study.
The first-in-man phase I trial will provide Inovio with safety and immunogenicity data, the firm said.