Inovio Pharmaceuticals receives $3.5 million NIAID grant for mass vaccination device

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a Bluebell, Pennsylvania-based vaccine developer, announced on Wednesday that it will receive a $3.5 million grant to advance the development of its next-generation DNA vaccine delivery device.

The grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will allow Inovio to develop the device, which is capable of simultaneously administering multiple synthetic vaccines through the process of skin surface electroporation. Inovio is collaborating on the project with Connie Schmaljohn, the chief scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

The goal of the public/private partnership is the development of a device to allow for rapid vaccination of U.S. troops against multiple infectious diseases and to protect civilians from pandemics.

"This new device would provide a means to rapidly and painlessly deliver multiple vaccines simultaneously to large groups of people," J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and CEO, said. "This collaboration builds on Inovio's strong relationship with Dr. Schmaljohn and her team at USAMRIID in which Inovio is bringing medical innovation to several biodefense efforts. Moreover, the advancements from this project will enable rapid and efficient delivery of Inovio's SynCon vaccines for universal flu, HIV, and other infectious diseases on a mass scale."

Inovio researchers collaborated with USAMRIID scientists to advance a DNA vaccine for the Lassa virus, which is designated as a Category A pathogen by the Department of Defense. Final testing of the simultaneous delivery system will use the Lassa virus and other arenaviruses.

Previous clinical studies demonstrated best-in-class T-cell and antibody responses when delivering Inovio vaccines with electroporation devices for infectious diseases and cancer.