Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO): Electroporation Increases Cellular Uptake of DNA Vaccines by 1,000x

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We recently highlighted the clinical progress that Inovio Pharmaceuticals (INO) has been making with its platform DNA immunotherapy program, as it initiated a pivotal Phase III study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of its lead candidate, VGX-3100, to treat cervical dysplasia caused by HPV. The delivery technology underlying the company's therapeutic and vaccine program has demonstrated best-in-class T-cell immune responses and the killing effect of those T-cells. Inovio's electroporation technology has been shown to increase the entry of DNA vaccines into cells by 1,000 fold or more.

In order for most drugs to be effective, they must be able to access the “machinery” inside a cell to perform their intended function and, in the case of DNA-based vaccines, to achieve their desired immune response. Cells are designed naturally to resist the entry of foreign materials through their outer membrane, however, and this defense mechanism has been the primary challenge facing clinicians working with DNA-based vaccines.

Inovio believes its proprietary electroporation technology to be the preeminent method for delivering and enabling immune responses from DNA immunotherapies.

Electroporation uses controlled, millisecond-long electrical pulses to create temporary pores in the cell membrane and enable dramatic cellular uptake - by 1,000 fold or more versus conventional delivery methods - of a synthetic DNA immunotherapy previously injected into muscle or skin. The cell uses the new DNA’s instructions to produce proteins associated with the targeted disease, which mimic the presence of an actual pathogen and induce an immune response to provide future protection against the pathogen or eliminate cells infected with an infectious disease or cancer.

Among Inovio Pharmaceuticals' strengths is the breadth and depth of its patent estate. The company has over 130 issued US patents encompassing DNA immunotherapies for specific disease areas, including the proprietary consensus gene sequences of the targeted antigens, DNA-based immune activators and DNA immunotherapy formulations. Critically, Inovio has broad patent coverage on its electroporation delivery products in clinical and near clinical development, as well as next-generation electroporation devices and core electroporation parameters and methods of application .

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals: Key US Electroporation Related Patents

Patent Title
6,110,161 Method for introducing pharmaceutical drugs and nucleic acids into skeletal muscle
6,261,281 Method for genetic immunization and introduction of molecules into skeletal muscle and immune cells
6,697,669 Skin and muscle-targeted gene therapy by pulsed electrical field
6,752,780 Intradermal injection system for injecting DNA-based injectables into humans
6,752,781 Durable hypodermic jet injector apparatus and method
6,939,862 Method for transferring nucleic acid into striated muscles
6,958,060 Method for muscle delivery of drugs, nucleic acids and other compounds
7,245,963 Electrode assembly for constant-current electroporation and use
7,328,064 Electroporation device and injection apparatus, with claims directed to methods of delivering an agent plus electroporation
7,442,182 Spring powered needle-free injection system
7,547,293 Triggering mechanism for needle-free injector
7,664,545 Electrode assembly for constant-current electroporation and use
7,717,874 Needle-free injection system
7,922,709 Enhanced delivery of naked DNA to skin by non-invasive in vivo electroporation
7,942,845 Needle-free injector and process for providing serial injections
8,209,006 Constant current electroporation device and methods of use
8,617,099 Injection device plunger auto-disable
9,452,285 Electroporation devices and methods of using same for electroporation of cells in mammals

Source: Inovio Pharmaceuticals Form 10-K for fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2016

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