BLUE BELL, Pa., April 10, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) has been selected to receive a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) to advance the development of its next generation DNA vaccine delivery device capable of simultaneously administering multiple synthetic vaccines via skin surface electroporation. Inovio is collaborating with Dr. Connie Schmaljohn, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID). The goal of this public/private partnership is to develop a device that would facilitate rapid vaccination of U.S. troops stationed around the world against multiple infectious diseases and protect civilian populations from pandemic threats.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president & CEO, said, "This new device would provide a means to rapidly and painlessly deliver multiple vaccines simultaneously to large groups of people. This collaboration builds on Inovio's strong relationship with Dr. Schmaljohn and her team at USAMRIID in which Inovio is bringing medical innovation to several biodefense efforts. Moreover, the advancements from this project will enable rapid and efficient delivery of Inovio's SynCon® vaccines for universal flu, HIV, and other infectious diseases on a mass scale."
The Inovio team of researchers has been collaborating with USAMRIID scientists to advance a DNA vaccine for the Lassa virus, which the DOD has designated as a "Category A" pathogen. In previous testing, an optimized DNA vaccine for the Lassa virus delivered by surface electroporation demonstrated complete protection against a virus challenge in both guinea pig and non-human primate disease models. Although prior results are highly encouraging and electroporation delivery is very tolerable from a patient perspective, improvements are still needed to make the technology more suitable for multiple vaccine administrations and mass vaccinations.