Inovio begins testing new HIV vaccine

Inovio Pharmaceuticals has announced that it began the testing of a new vaccine for use against HIV on September 20.

Pennavax-B is a DNA vaccine that uses a proprietary electroporation technique developed by Inovio. Electroporation uses millisecond long electrical pulses to help the DNA vaccine to permeate cell membranes, according to the Philadelphia Business Journal. This technique allows for a significantly greater uptake of the biological material that was injected into local tissue.

The HIV Vaccine Trials Network is conducting the multicenter study and is Inovio’s clinical collaborator on the Phase-I trials. All 48 slots for volunteers were filled.

“Enrollment for this trial was completed ahead of schedule, with much anticipation for assessing this new concept for HIV vaccines,” Dr. Spyros Kalams told the Philadelphia Business Journal. Kalams is the principal investigator for the study and immunology director of the Vanderbilt Center for AIDS Research at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We look forward to the results of this DNA vaccine trial with its unique mode of action and novel delivery technology,” Kalams told the Philadelphia Business Journal.

Innovio is expecting to have final results of the trial by or during the second quarter of 2011. It believes initial results could be ready before the end of 2010.