Inovio Biomedical highlights its advances in SynCon DNA vaccines

Inovio Biomedical Corporation (NYSE Amex: INO), a leader in DNA vaccine design, development and delivery, announced that Dr. David B. Weiner, Chairman of Inovio’s Scientific Advisory Board, highlighted advances in electroporation-delivered SynCon™ DNA vaccines compared to other leading vaccine technologies at the AIDS Vaccine 2009 Conference being held this week in Paris, France.

Dr. Weiner, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, presented pre-clinical data showing significantly higher levels of immune responses induced by Inovio’s DNA vaccines compared to those induced by the recombinant adenovirus serotype 5 (Ad5) vector. This study was led by Professor David B. Weiner’s team at the University of Pennsylvania and included collaborators from Inovio and Merck. Inovio and its collaborators previously reported that PENNVAX™ DNA vaccines delivered using electroporation induced dramatic increases in T-cell and antibody-based immune responses as well as improved control of viral replication following a simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) challenge. The SIV model in non-human primates is considered to be the most relevant model for studying HIV infection in humans. Historically, recombinant Ad5 vector has been shown to be one of the most potent viral vectors for vaccines. This collaborative study was the first to directly compare a DNA plasmid-electroporation platform with a recombinant Ad5 vector in an SIV model in non-human primates. The study results showed consistent five to 10-fold enhancements of T-cell based immune responses following DNA plasmid-electroporation vaccination compared to the Ad5 vaccination.

Dr. Weiner also discussed in his presentation Inovio’s novel SynCon™ technology, which enables the company to design DNA-based vaccines with the potential to protect against newly emergent, unknown strains of pathogens such as HIV and influenza. Inovio’s SynCon™ PENNVAX™-B HIV vaccine, which targets clade B HIV strains that exist primarily in developed countries, has entered human clinical trials with the HIV Vaccines Trial Network under the HVTN-080 protocol. This vaccine was developed with significant funding from, and in close collaboration with, the NIH/NIAID/DAIDS.

Moreover, Dr. Weiner further presented recently announced clinical immunology data from the low dose cohort of Inovio’s therapeutic DNA vaccine against cervical cancer. He noted that the induction of strong cellular and antibody responses provided the first significant and robust demonstration of the potential of Inovio’s DNA vaccine approach and shared his belief that this may bode well not only for the cervical cancer and HIV vaccine trials now underway, but also for other product candidates being developed using its DNA vaccine development platform.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, president & CEO of Inovio, said: “We believe the comparative performance of our electroporation-based DNA vaccine products relative to other vaccination methods is proving to be exceptional. Based on the significant immune responses achieved in the first, low-dose group of our therapeutic cervical cancer clinical study, we look forward to the results of the second and third dose groups of this study and results from the PENNVAX™-B preventive HIV vaccine study. The development of these vaccines could transform the lives of hundreds of millions of people around the world. These are complex scientific challenges and we are pleased that results to-date are showing the potential of these programs.”

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