Scientific American Article Says DNA Vaccines Are Reaching Their Potential

Inovio Pharmaceuticals Scientific Advisor and DNA Vaccines Pioneer Co-Authors Article Highlighting That DNA-Based Vaccines and Treatments Are Poised to Become a Success Story

BLUE BELL, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jun 16, 2010 - Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: INO), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, announced today that Scientific American magazine has published in its July issue an article entitled “DNA Drugs Come of Age.” The article was co-authored by Dr. David Weiner, Chairman, Scientific Advisory Board, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, and Professor, Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, at the University of Pennsylvania and Dr. Matthew Morrow, a post-doctorate research fellow at University of Pennsylvania.

The article details the “rebirth” of DNA vaccines, which are recognized as safer; easier and faster to develop and manufacture; and not requiring refrigeration - in contrast to traditional vaccines. The article states: “A new generation of plasmid-based vaccines is proving in human and animal trials that it can produce the desired responses while retaining the safety and other benefits that make DNA so appealing. The same DNA-based technology is also now expanding to other forms of immune therapy and the direct delivery of medicines. In their mature form, such DNA-based vaccines and treatments are poised to become a success story by addressing several conditions that now lack effective treatments.”

Dr. Weiner's article points to the progress DNA vaccines have made since applied research began in the early 1990s: “These designer plasmid vaccines are a far cry from the simple protein-encoding constructs of the early years of the DNA platform. With optimized plasmids and improved delivery methods, the technology was ready to make a comeback¦. What is more, the DNA approach has begun to show promise for uses beyond classical vaccination, including plasmid delivery of some medications and of immune therapies targeted at cancers.”

The article notes, “Improvements to the plasmids and new methods for delivering them have dramatically enhanced their potency.” “New vaccine delivery methods are among the most significant accomplishments to come out of this work, because they get considerably more cells—including immune cells themselves—to take up the plasmids¦Electroporation can increase cells' uptake of plasmids by as much as 1,000-fold.”

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's CEO as well as a former university colleague of Dr. Weiner's, said: “Scientific American's publication of an article on DNA vaccines affirms the accomplishments and potential of this field. At Inovio we are proud to be a leader in advancing novel DNA plasmid vaccines and enhanced delivery using electroporation, with vaccines for HIV, influenza and cancer all in clinical trials. We are likewise proud of our long-standing collaborative relationship with Dr. Weiner, who is recognized as the ˜father of DNA vaccines.'”

About Dr. David Weiner

David Weiner is a world-renowned leader in immunology as well as gene vaccines and therapy. As a pioneer in the field of DNA vaccines, he has over 300 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals to his credit and publication in mainstream scientific journals such as Scientific American. He is currently Chair of the Gene Therapy and Vaccines Program at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Weiner has been selected by the Institute for Scientific Information as one of the top cited scientists in the world. He was also the editor of several published books. Dr. Weiner's many credits attest to his pivotal role in developing gene-based vaccines and therapies. Dr. Weiner serves and has served as an advisor to and collaborator with leading companies such as Wyeth/Pfizer, 3M, J&J, GSK, Mobil and Centocor. Dr. Weiner played a key role in the start-up of biotechnology companies such as Apollon (one of the world's first DNA vaccine companies), Synbiotics, Immune Pharmaceutics, Verigen, and Symphony Pharmaceutics. He is a special employee and advisor for FDA/CBER and the NIH-NIAID-DAIDS Grant Review process. Dr. Weiner was a co-founder of VGX Pharmaceuticals, which merged with Inovio Pharmaceuticals in June 2009.

About Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Inovio is developing a new generation of vaccines, called DNA vaccines, to treat and prevent cancers and infectious diseases. The company's SynCon™ “universal” vaccines are designed to provide broad cross-strain protection against known as well as newly emergent strains of pathogens such as influenza. When delivered with Inovio's proprietary electroporation delivery devices the vaccines have been shown to be safe and to generate significant immune responses. Inovio's clinical programs include HPV/cervical cancer (therapeutic), avian flu, and HIV vaccines (both preventive and therapeutic). Inovio is developing its universal influenza vaccines in collaboration with scientists from the University of Pennsylvania and National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada. Other partners and collaborators include Merck, ChronTech, University of Southampton, National Cancer Institute, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, and Malaria Vaccine Initiative/PATH. More information is available at www.inovio.com.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our business, including our plans to develop electroporation-based drug and gene delivery technologies and DNA vaccines and our capital resources. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of factors, including uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and product development programs (including, but not limited to, the fact that pre-clinical and clinical results referenced in this release may not be indicative of results achievable in other trials or for other indications, that results from one study may not necessarily be reflected or supported by the results of other similar studies and that results from an animal study may not be indicative of results achievable in human studies), the availability of funding to support continuing research and studies in an effort to prove safety and efficacy of electroporation technology as a delivery mechanism or develop viable DNA vaccines, the adequacy of our capital resources, the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by the company or its collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost-effective than any therapy or treatment that the company and its collaborators hope to develop, evaluation of potential opportunities, issues involving patents and whether they or licenses to them will provide the company with meaningful protection from others using the covered technologies, whether such proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity and whether the company can finance or devote other significant resources that may be necessary to prosecute, protect or defend them, the level of corporate expenditures, assessments of the company's technology by potential corporate or other partners or collaborators, capital market conditions, our ability to successfully integrate Inovio and VGX Pharmaceuticals, the impact of government healthcare proposals and other factors set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009, our Form 10-Q for the three months ended March 31, 2010, and other regulatory filings from time to time. There can be no assurance that any product in Inovio's pipeline will be successfully developed or manufactured, that final results of clinical studies will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate.

Contact: Investors:
Inovio Pharmaceuticals
Bernie Hertel, 858-410-3101
bhertel@inovio.com
or
Media:
Richardson & Associates
Jeff Richardson, 805-491-8313
jeff@richardsonglobalpr.com

 

Posted: June 2010

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