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Inovio Pharmaceuticals Targets Transformation Of Monoclonal Antibody Therapies

BLUE BELL, Pa., Sept. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE MKT: INO) announced today the publication of a peer-reviewed paper demonstrating the success of its new DNA plasmid technology in generating therapeutic monoclonal antibodies. In this study in mice, a prototype monoclonal antibody construct encoding for an established anti-HIV monoclonal antibody (VRC01) was created as a DNA plasmid using Inovio's patented DNA optimization technology, including codon/RNA optimization and leader sequence utilization, and delivered with its CELLECTRA® adaptive electroporation device. The results were published in a paper entitled, "Optimized and enhanced DNA plasmid vector based in vivo construction of a neutralizing anti-HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein Fab," in the peer-reviewed Human Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics.

Monoclonal antibodies (mAb) were a transformational scientific innovation designed to enhance the immune system's ability to regulate cell functions. They are designed to bind to a very specific epitope (area) of an antigen or cell surface target and can bind to almost any selected target. mAbs have the unique ability to alert the immune system to attack and kill specific cancer cells (as in the case of Yervoy®) or block certain biochemical pathways (such as those leading to rheumatoid arthritis, as in the case of Remicade®). In contrast, polyclonal antibodies, which are generated by the body through natural exposure to an antigen or through vaccination, target multiple epitopes. They are effective at binding to antigens but tend to be less potent and less specific than monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal antibodies, with their designer capabilities and potency, have consequently become a powerful class of products against cancers, autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, and neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

However, mAb technology does have limitations. Delivered by passive administration, meaning they are manufactured outside the body, they typically require costly large-scale laboratory development and production. Additional limitations include the necessity for repeat administrations and their limited length of in vivo potency.

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