BLUE BELL, Pa., May 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) announced today that in a preclinical study of Inovio's SynCon ® DNA vaccine against Ebola and Marburg filoviruses, labeled "Category A" bioterrorism agents by the U.S. government, the vaccine induced strong and broad immune responses and demonstrated 100% protection against death following a challenge with multiple variants of the pathogen in two animal models.
There is no approved vaccine or therapy available against these highly virulent pathogens that have killed up to 90% of the people they infected. Because these viruses could potentially be easily transmitted, result in high mortality rates and cause a major public health impact, various agencies are seeking solutions for public health preparedness. A DNA vaccine could offer faster design and manufacturing timelines than traditional vaccine approaches, but particularly important, Inovio's SynCon® products offer the potentially preemptive advantage of enabling a design to provide broad protection encompassing multiple families of these so-called filoviruses.
Preclinical data was published in the peer-reviewed journal Molecular Therapy in a paper, "Induction of Broad Cytotoxic T Cells by Protective DNA Vaccination Against Marburg and Ebola," authored by Inovio researchers and collaborators.
Using Inovio's proprietary SynCon® design approach, Inovio researchers developed a polyvalent DNA vaccine consisting of three consensus plasmids to broadly target variant virus strains within three distinct families of Ebola and Marburg viruses. In the first part of this study, following two vaccinations using Inovio's proprietary CELLECTRA® electroporation device, 100% of vaccinated guinea pigs were protected from death following a virus challenge. The researchers observed significant increases in neutralizing antibody titers and strong and broad levels of vaccine-induced T-cells, including "killer" T-cells, and subsequently conducted a test in mice using only one vaccination – this single dose also fully protected the animals from death following a virus challenge. In addition, unlike the non-vaccinated animals, vaccinated animals were protected from weight loss.