Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Inovio announces positive animal response in SynCon anti-HPV study

Inovio Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:INO) said Monday its SynCon vaccine induced a positive T-Cell immune response in mice with diseases caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV) types 6 and 11, broadening the company's reach with the synthetic vaccine.

Inovio's SynCon technology allows it to design synthetic vaccines with the potential to protect against unmatched sub-types and strains of pathogens, including newly emergent, unknown strains of a virus that will periodically emerge through mutation, as in the case of the HPV virus.

The vaccine for these two types joins the company's existing vaccines for types 16 and 18, which is currently in a phase two clinical study.

The results were published in Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutic, a peer-reviewed paper, titled "Induction of robust cellular immunity against HPV6 and HPV11 in mice by DNA vaccine encoding for E6/E7 antigen".

Inovio president and CEO, Dr. J. Joseph Kim said: "Over a dozen HPV types are recognized as causing cancers and other diseases, with a significant health need and business opportunity for therapeutic vaccines to address these conditions.

"With the best-in-class T-cell responses generated by VGX-3100 in early human studies, our goal is to create a family of therapeutic vaccines targeting most significant diseases caused by HPV infection, including cervical cancer and dysplasia, vulvar dysplasia, head and neck cancer, and other cancers.

"This study demonstrates our ability to readily extend our therapeutic solutions to diseases caused by different HPV types.

"Importantly, our clinical experience with VGX-3100 may also help streamline the regulatory path for these related vaccines."

The new SynCon vaccines were developed to target antigens E6 and E7 of HPV 6 and HPV 11. The vaccines were then modified to increase gene expression and production of the antigenic protein.

The product was administered using the company's proprietary electroporation delivery system, which has proven to boost immune responses by up to 100-fold.

The HPV virus is the potentially deadly virus behind such diseases as head and neck cancers, and genital warts, among others.

Types 6 and 11 in particular are the major cause of recurrent respiratory papillomatosis, which is commonly manifested in warts in the airway, as well as genital warts. The strains are also associated with ear, nose and throat malignancies, carcinoma of the lung, tonsil and larynx, and low-grade cervical lesions.

In addition to the treatment of HPV, Inovio's SynCon vaccines are also undergoing clinical evaluations to treat the influenza virus, cervical dysplasia, leukemia, the hepatitis C virus, and HIV.

On the AMEX, Inovio shares spiked 8.28 percent in premarket trading, to $0.667 per share as of 8:12 am EDT.

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