This is the second part of a two-part series on Inovio Biomedical. Click here for the first part
SAN DIEGO (
(INO - Get Report)
, a little-known biotech company,
has been developing and studying an influenza vaccine that it says can protect against swine-flu
-- or any flu for that matter. But the firm's history to date -- and the propensity of drug-development companies far and wide for pumping their various H1N1-related cures and tinctures -- raises doubts.
In an interview with
, Inovio chief executive J. Joseph Kim attempted to allay the skepticism.
For one thing, he said, the company's work on flu vaccines long predates the swine flu scare: "We didn't just jump on the bandwagon."
Kim came to Inovio only in June, when the firm acquired a private vaccine-development startup called VGX Pharmaceuticals. Along with microbiologist David Weiner, Kim helped found VGX in 2000 based on a DNA vaccine formula licensed from the labs at the University of Pennsylvania, where Weiner teaches at the medical school. With that technology, VGX had been working on a flu vaccine since 2007.
The big idea behind the SynCon treatment is that it would be universal. Unlike traditional vaccines that must be re-built from scratch each year to deal with new influenza strains and mutations, universal vaccines could simply be tweaked as new viruses emerge in the populace.