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Inovio CEO: New Ebola vaccine effective in animals

One synthetic Ebola vaccine in development has shown preliminary success in beating back the deadly virus, Inovio Pharmaceuticals CEO and President Joseph Kim said Wednesday.

"We were able to see 100 percent protection in animal models, in two separate animal species, after these animals were vaccinated with Inovio's Ebola vaccine," he said, adding that the subjects avoided illness and death. The results, he added, were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal late last year.

A day after the Centers for Disease Control confirmed the first U.S. case of Ebola infection, several pharmaceutical companies with drugs in the pipeline saw a spike in their stock prices.

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On CNBC's "Fast Money," Kim emphasized Inovio's synthetic vaccine was safe.

"We don't actually use a virus to make our vaccine. We actually use the DNA code, or genetic code, that encodes for a viral antigen," he said. "So, we actually design all of our products in the computer using the DNA sequences, and they become the basis for our product once injected into the person's body. So, it's designed to be safe. It's pure DNA formulated in pure water and delivered with our proprietary delivery system."

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Kim said the vaccine's manufacturing process was easily scalable due to its time-tested method.

"I joke around that you can turn any beer manufacturer's manufacturing production facility into a temporary emergency factory for our vaccines because we use the same fermentation technology as the beer brewing," he said.

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Kim added that it was difficult to commercialize an Ebola vaccine without huge demand from the U.S. government or international health agencies, and said that Inovio was ready for human trials.

"What Inovio has been doing is we have been applying our technology to this, getting the animal testing done, and we're quite ready to get into human studies as soon as possible," he said.