Inovio Pharmaceuticals (AMEX:INO) reported Tuesday the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office granted patent protection for the company's SynCon vaccine for cervical dysplasias (pre-cancerous lesions) and cancers caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV).
The company develops DNA-based vaccines to treat and prevent cancers and infectious diseases.
Inovio said the patent granted to the Trustees of The University of Pennsylvania has been exclusively licensed to the company under its existing license agreement with the university.
The patent includes claims that cover Inovio's synthetic consensus HPV antigens, and DNA constructs and vaccines that include these antigens, including Inovio's cervical dysplasia/cancer vaccine, VGX-3100.
This patent also covers methods of treating a patient using the SynCon cervical dysplasia/cancer vaccine.
VGX-3100 is designed to raise immune responses against the E6 and E7 genes associated with the human papillomavirus types 16 and 18. The E6 and E7 proteins are responsible for transforming HPV-infected cells into pre-cancerous and cancerous cells.
Inovio’s aim is to stimulate a T-cell immune response strong enough to reject infected cells from the body.
"This additional patent grant bolsters the strong intellectual property portfolio around our SynCon synthetic vaccines," chief executive Joseph Kim said in a statement.
"Inovio's synthetic vaccine for these diseases answers an unmet need by providing non-invasive and potentially more effective approach for treating women with this condition."
Presently, the company is recruiting subjects for its phase II study for the drug, which is designed to enroll 148 patients with cervical dysplasia across 25 centres.
The placebo-controlled and randomized trial will assess the regression of cervical lesions. The secondary endpoint will be to measure immune responses to the drug. Subjects will also be monitored for tolerability and safety.
The company’s SynCon vaccines are designed to provide broad cross-strain protection against known and newly emergent unmatched strains of pathogens such as influenza.
These synthetic vaccines, in combination with Inovio's proprietary electroporation delivery, have been shown to generate positive immune responses, along with a favourable safety profile.
Inovio's clinical programs include phase II studies for cervical dysplasia, leukemia and the hepatitis C virus and phase I studies for influenza and HIV.
Shares of the company went up 2.09 percent, climbing to 55.1 cents on the AMEX Exchange on Tuesday afternoon.