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San Diego Scientists Making Headway in Global Effort to Treat COVID-19

As San Diego Continues A Safe Reopening, Mayor Looks Ahead to Treatments and Vaccines That Will Help End Pandemic

Thursday, May 21, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

San Diego – As San Diego continues to flatten the curve and begins to safely reopen restaurant dining and in-store shopping, today Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer will highlight the encouraging progress the local life-science industry is making in the global effort to develop treatments and vaccines to combat COVID-19.

Mayor Faulconer will be joined by Joe Panetta, President and CEO of Biocom; Dr. Henry Ji, Chairman and CEO of Sorrento Therapeutics; and Dr. Kate Broderick, Senior Vice President of Research and Development at Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

“San Diego has been a leader in slowing the spread of COVID-19, a leader in safely reopening amid COVID-19, and I truly believe will be a leader in developing an effective treatment to stop COVID-19,” said Mayor Faulconer. “The extremely encouraging progress on treatments and vaccines being made in San Diego makes the light at the end of this tunnel even brighter, and is what will ultimately bring an end to this global pandemic.”

In April, Mayor Faulconer toured the Sorrento Therapeutics facility to see first-hand the groundbreaking antibody development. Recently, Sorrento Therapeutics saw progress in the development of the antibody STI-1499, which could serve as an effective treatment in blocking the virus. 

"Sorrento Therapeutics is a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company with a FDA approved product and multiple products in late stage clinical development in cancers and non-opioid pain management,” said Ji of Sorrento Therapeutics. “Sorrento has in development multiple vaccines and neutralizing antibody and protein against COVID-19, which if successful, will contribute meaningful to the re-opening of the country and prevent and treat the COVID-19 pandemic."

Inovio was one of the first in the nation to move to clinical trials for a vaccine to COVID-19 in humans and recently shared positive results from the first phase of clinical trials where the experimental vaccine produced antibodies and immune system responses in animals. 

“Inovio is a proud San Diego based biotech company who is a leader in the critical development of a vaccine against COVID-19,” said Broderick of Inovio Pharmaceuticals. “We are currently testing our INO-4800 COVID-19 vaccine in humans in a Phase 1 trial and are diligently working towards further stage (Phase 2/3 trials) human testing in the summer time frame.”

San Diego is home to one of the nation’s main clusters of life science organizations, many of which are leading the national effort in the fight against COVID-19 through the development of potentially life-saving vaccines, immunotherapies, testing and treatments.

"Biocom and the life science industry appreciate Mayor Faulconer’s leadership throughout the pandemic – from early thoughtful response to supporting our work to advance innovative solutions,” said Panetta of Biocom. “We appreciate his hard work to develop a responsible reopening plan. I am pleased to join the mayor to share significant updates on the work happening here in San Diego to develop diagnostics, treatments, and vaccines for COVID-19. San Diego continues to be at the forefront of efforts to combat this disease."

More information on the State of California “Stay At Home” order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state can be found on the California Covid-19 response website.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.

For the latest City operational updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

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