Shares of South Korean biotech company Genexine Inc. sank upon disappointment at the company’s strategic move to change clinical trial program for its Covid-19 vaccine candidate GX-19N to test its efficacy as a “booster” dose in order to target the growing vaccinated population across the globe.
Genexine announced on Monday that it has filed an application for changes in Phase 2 and 3 clinical trials for GX-19N with the Indonesian public health authorities to change inoculation targets to vaccinated adults.
Shares of Kosdaq-listed Genexine fell 10 percent to close at 74,400 won ($63.75).
The clinical trials will be expanded to Argentina and other countries to test a total of 14,000 people. Participants must have been vaccinated at least three months ago with Chinese inactivated vaccines Sinovac and Sinopharm, which show the highest breakthrough infection rates.
Since participants under the original trial plan should stay unvaccinated for a year amid Delta variant surge, Genexine and its Indonesian partner PT Kalbe Farma have determined that it would be more ethical and profitable to conduct a booster dose trial targeting vaccinated populations.
About 21 percent of the Indonesian population has been inoculated so far, mostly with the Chinese-made vaccines.
GX-19N is a DNA-based vaccine being developed by a consortium led by Genexine. It targets both SARS-CoV-2’s spike and nucleocapsid protein (NP) antigens.
The biotech company is also planning to carry out trials to assess the effect of GX-19N as a booster dose for other types of vaccines including mRNA, adenoviral vectors and recombinant proteins.
By Lee Soo-min
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]