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UPDATE 1-Inovio expands partnership with Advaccine for COVID-19 vaccine study

(Adds background, agreement details)

June 8 (Reuters) - Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc on Tuesday expanded its partnership with Advaccine Biopharmaceuticals to conduct a late-stage trial of its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, expected to start in the summer.

Inovio and Advaccine had entered into an agreement in January, under which Advaccine gained the exclusive right to develop and market the DNA vaccine, INO-4800, within Greater China. bit.ly/2TbavG8

Under the expanded deal, the companies expect to equally share the total cost of the late-stage trial, expected to be about $100 million, Inovio said.

Advaccine will also get rights to additional Asian countries outside of Greater China.

Inovio has fallen behind rivals in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine after the U.S. health regulator last year put the Phase 3 portion of its mid-to-late stage trial on hold for more information on the device used to deliver the vaccine candidate into skin cells.

The company said the potential vaccine, INO-4800, will be tested among those who are 18 years and older across several countries, mainly in Latin America and Asia. (Reporting by Amruta Khandekar; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shailesh Kuber)

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