Inovio to start human trials of Ebola vaccine

Sept 24 (Reuters) - Vaccine developer Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said the company and its partner GeneOne Life Science Inc will start testing its experimental Ebola vaccine in humans in the first half of 2015.

Inovio’s shares were up 7 percent at $10.48 in late morning trading on the Nasdaq.

Inovio said animal studies showed that vaccinated guinea pigs and mice survived after being exposed to the deadly virus.

The studies showed that the experimental vaccine could also benefit the patients by protecting them from weight loss, apart from fighting the virus.

Drug and vaccine companies are racing to conduct clinical trials of potential treatments for Ebola since the latest outbreak of the virus in South Africa.

The worst Ebola outbreak on record is now projected to infect as many as 20,000 people in West Africa by November.

Two other vaccine candidates in development are from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and NewLink Genetics Corp.

Other potential treatments in development are ZMapp by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc and AVI 7537 by Sarepta Therapeutics Inc .

Canada’s Tekmira Pharmaceuticals Corp said on Monday that its experimental Ebola treatment got authorized by U.S. and Canadian health regulators for use in patients.

On successful completion of the early-stage study, Inovio and GeneOne will look for another partner to take the development forward, Inovio said. (Reporting by Vidya L Nathan in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel)