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On July 15, Dickinson announced that the fall 2020 semester will be remote. Campus is closed to visitors who do not have an approved appointment. Face coverings must be worn at all times.

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Dickinson College Alumnus’ Biotech Company at the Forefront (Again) of Vaccine Creation

Young Park

Young Park ’87

GeneOne CEO Young Park ’87 finds himself confronting COVID-19

by Tony Moore

Back in July 2014, the Zika virus was in the news daily, and the first human trial for a vaccine got quickly underway. The company that launched the trial was GeneOne Life Science. Now, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has replaced Zika in the news and is leaving devastation in its wake.

And once again, GeneOne, under president and CEO Young Park ’87, has a trial underway to battle the new scourge.

“We have moved quickly to enable GeneOne to supply millions of doses,” Park recently said in a company press release, “as we anticipate the phase 2 study of GLS-1200 will demonstrate effectiveness in preventing infection.”

GLS-1200 is GeneOne’s investigational new drug, a nasal spray for the prevention of COVID-19 infection recently approved by the FDA for testing. In the phase 2 study, GeneOne is recruiting hospital personnel and other frontline healthcare workers who are at higher risk for infection. The spray acts to stimulate nasal cells to produce nitric oxide, which may inhibit SARS coronavirus growth and infectivity.

This study of GLS-1200 will enroll 225 participants into a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial to investigate whether three-times daily nasal administration of GLS-1200 over four weeks can prevent infection with COVID-19 while in use.

Beyond this test, GeneOne is busy developing a vaccine for South Korea with a contract with the Korean government, while its subsidiary, VGXI, has manufactured a second vaccine—for Inovio Pharmaceutical—for human study. VGXI has previously worked to help produce vaccines for Zika, Ebola and MERS.

Read more stories about how members of the Dickinson community near and far have responded to emerging needs and challenges during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Published June 8, 2020