SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Inovio announces success in malaria vaccine animal trials

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based vaccine developer, announced on Thursday that its SynCon DNA vaccine for malaria demonstrated strong and durable antibody and T-cell immune responses in non-human primates and small animals.

The vaccine used in the study was a SynCon DNA vaccine with multiple malaria antigens delivered via Inovio's CELLECTRA electroporation device. Inovio designed the vaccine with four sporozite and liver-stage malaria antigens that were chosen because of their key role in the elimination or control of malaria infection. The study, which was published in Infection & Immunity, found the malaria vaccine generated robust and long-lasting T-cell responses in mice and non-human primates.

The vaccine demonstrated sustained antibody responses to all four malaria antigens, which Inovio said is a strong indication for a preventive response in humans.

"Published data from two clinical studies has demonstrated that Inovio's products generated best-in-class T-cell immune responses," J. Joseph Kim, the president and CEO of Inovio, said. "Using the same synthetic vaccine technology that produced clinical candidates against HPV, HIV, and influenza and achieved potent antibody and T-cell immune responses against these targets, we have now generated strong immunology data with our malaria vaccine in non-human primates. We are excited to advance toward the very important healthcare goal of conquering malaria."

In 2014, Inovio plans to initiate a Phase I/IIa clinical trial to test Inovio's DNA vaccine and electroporation technology in approximately 30 people as part of a challenge trial involving controlled human malaria infection. If successful, the trial could provide valuable information and the further development of a malaria vaccine.

According to the World Health Organization, there were more than 200 million malaria cases in 2010 and close to 700,000 deaths resulting from malaria infection.