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Wistar Joins Global Effort to Expedite Coronavirus Vaccine Development

PHILADELPHIA — (Jan. 23, 2020) — The Wistar Institute announces today that they are part of a team to develop a vaccine against the recently emerged strain of coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that has infected hundreds in China and other countries, including the U.S., and resulted in numerous deaths to date. Wistar is part of a collaboration funded by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI).

CEPI will fund nearly $9 million to support pre-clinical and clinical research for a vaccine advanced by Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO), based in part on key technology generated in the lab of David B. Weiner, Ph.D., executive vice president, director of the Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, and the W.W. Smith Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at The Wistar Institute. Wistar’s participation in this developing initiative is based on its experience and suitability of its DNA technology platform to rapidly translate a vaccine against an emerging virus with pandemic potential. Prior work by this team includes development of vaccines for Ebola, Zika and MERS, another coronavirus, during those recent outbreaks.

“Wistar feels compelled to deploy its expertise and its technological advancements to combat global emerging infectious diseases as part of its mission and is proud to be part of one of the first initiatives to approach this evolving global health threat,” said Weiner.

In addition to Wistar and Inovio, the team includes VGXI and Twist Bioscience.

The Weiner laboratory at Wistar is dedicated to accelerating vaccine and immunotherapy technologies for infectious diseases and cancer. Weiner’s research expands upon Wistar’s mission to create new treatments for the most uncompromising diseases and make lifesaving contributions to cancer biology and infectious diseases.

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Philadelphia Inquirer: Weiner asked to comment on the coronavirus outbreak: Jan. 21


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

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