Inovio, universities receive grant to develop hepatitis C vaccine

PHILADELPHIA — Inovio Biomedical Corp. and its university research partners were awarded a $2.8 million Pennsylvania state grant to develop a DNA vaccine to treat hepatitis C, the Philadelphia Business Journal reported April 9.

The biopharmaceutical company is working with Drexel University, the University of Pennsylvania and Cheyney University on the project.

The grant from the Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program will fund pre-clinical studies to test the safety and effect on the immune system of Inovio's novel vaccines. They are designed to treat people who are chronically infected with hepatitis C virus and have not responded to available therapies.

Pennsylvania’s CURE program, funded by the state’s tobacco settlement funds, supports clinical, health services and biomedical research throughout the sate.

“HCV is a major global health problem, with over 170 million people infected worldwide,” said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, president and CEO of Inovio.