Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. last week announced plans to advance their DNA vaccine for the Ebola virus into human clinical trials in early 2015.
Results from the company’s preclinical testing of the vaccine showed 100% of vaccinated guinea pigs and mice were protected from death after being exposed to the Ebola virus.
Inovio is co-develop the vaccine with GeneOne Life Science Inc., a vaccine manufacturer based in Seoul, of which Inovio owns a minority stake.
Upon successful completion of Phase 1 studies, Inovio and GeneOne indicated they would jointly seek additional third-party funding and support to further develop and commercialize the vaccine.
“There are no proven agents to check the spread of Ebola, which is now becoming a health threat of global concern,” said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio president and chief executive. “We are therefore taking the steps…to establish the safety and immunogenicity of our Ebola vaccine in humans and be in a position to further advance these agents to help fight this challenging disease.”
Inovio’s Syncon DNA vaccine technology uses a DNA fragment with instructions that enable cells in the body to produce only the targeted antigen relating to a pathogen. Rather than being constrained by the paradigm of matching a preventive or therapeutic vaccine to a single pathogen strain, the SynCon vaccines are based on genetic code for a specific antigen from multiple strains of the target pathogen.
This adaptability potentially gives Inovio an advantage over other Ebola vaccine candidates. The SynCon antigens are designed to protect against multiple existing strains as well as changing strains of a virus.
Sources: AP, Inovio, Wall Street Journal