"The major hurdle to developing therapeutic vaccines for any disease area has been the inability to generate a meaningful level of functional T-cell response and, in the case of HCV, one that is directed to the liver. We have appreciated the opportunity in this collaboration to support ChronTech with our electroporation delivery technology and observe the impact of varying vaccine doses and regimens and their combination with standard of care on immune responses and HCV viral load," said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's President and CEO.
"Inovio's extensive preclinical and clinical data generation and experience in advancing DNA vaccines across multiple disease areas have shown us that our effort to characterize and design highly optimized multi-antigen-targeting DNA vaccines and dosing, vaccination, and electroporation parameters was a necessary and successful step to achieve desired therapeutic immune responses. Our next-generation SynCon® vaccines and CELLECTRA® electroporation delivery devices have demonstrated best-in-class T-cell responses for HIV and cervical dysplasias caused by HPV and the ability to generate functional CD8 T-cells with antigen-specific killing activity in humans. Similarly, Inovio's proprietary HCV DNA vaccine therapy employing these next-generation technologies has achieved a scientific first by inducing highly functional T-cells in the liver in animal studies. There remains an important role for a potent therapeutic HCV vaccine in treating and managing this chronic disease. We look forward to initiating our planned phase I clinical study of Inovio's proprietary HCV DNA vaccine later this year."
Inovio's SynCon® DNA vaccine, INO-8000, is coded to produce the antigens NS3/4A, NS4B, and NS5A of HCV genotypes 1a and 1b, the most difficult-to-treat genotypes. This is one of the broadest spectrums of antigens targeted by any HCV vaccine or drug, including those under development, and creates a better possibility to induce the desired therapeutic immune response. Our proprietary DNA vaccines are uniquely designed to enhance gene expression and antigen secretion, processing, and presentation through a proprietary combination of DNA, RNA, and codon optimization techniques as well as the use of patent protected IgE leader sequences. Our CELLECTRA® electroporation device co-localizes vaccine delivery with the applied electric field and operates under more effective constant-current EP parameters. Together these next-generation technologies have generated levels of T-cells that are often orders of magnitude greater than competing technologies, including those using viral vectors and other facilitated delivery systems.