Inovio Pharmaceuticals outlines plans for new vaccine delivery technology

Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., detailed its plans on Tuesday for a device that will be able to simultaneously administer multiple synthetic vaccines.

The next generation of vaccine technology, on which Inovio is working, is based on electroporation, or skin surface absorption. The pharmaceutical company, which specializes in cancer and infectious disease treatment, is working with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease to develop a device to utilize this technology in order to rapidly vaccinate at-risk populations and troops.

The Lassa virus, a Category A pathogen as classified by the Defense Department, is the current project on which both the Inovio and USAMRIID scientists are working. In a previous experiment, a vaccine distributed via surface electroporation was proven to completely protect guinea pigs and non-human primates from the Lassa virus. Prior experiments hold promise that electroporation delivery, with improvements in technology, will provide a new method for mass administration of vaccinations.

A $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases will provide Inovio with the resources to develop a multi-vaccine electroporation delivery device to combat the Lassa virus and other biodefense vaccine targets. A previous grant, the 2011 Small Business Innovation Research Grant, was awarded to Inovio for the development of a technology to potentially administer of two vaccines at once; Inovio now plans to combine these technologies.