Inovio takes first step towards pandemic flu prevention

Published: 28-Mar-2012

Receives US patent protection for universal flu vaccine INO-3510

Inovio Pharmaceuticals’ SynCon influenza vaccine, INO-3510, has received patent protection from the US Patent and Trademark Office.

INO-3510 is a synthetically created, prophylactic DNA vaccine based on multiple influenza strains within multiple influenza subtypes.

The vaccine combines SynCon vaccine constructs for two Type A subtypes, H1N1 and H5N1. Rather than specifically matching a single targeted influenza strain within a subtype, which is what happens with conventional influenza vaccines, these constructs are based on a genetic consensus of multiple existing strains within the selected subtype. Thus ‘universality’ is achieved within and across selected subtypes.

Dr Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and ceo, said this patent is significant for Inovio. ‘It validates the patentable novelty of our SynCon technology and vaccines created using this technology,’ he said.

‘We have filed for additional patents to protect our broad emerging portfolio of SynCon vaccine products against multiple diseases.’

The issued patent also covers an important component of Inovio’s universal influenza vaccine, which is in clinical development.

Inovio researchers have previously shown that its H1N1 influenza SynCon vaccine provided 100% protection of animals challenged with the 2009 swine origin H1N1 virus and, separately, the H1N1 virus that caused the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed more than 40 million people.

Additional animal studies have also shown that the vaccination generated protective HAI titres against other important H1N1 strains. The first H1N1 human data from Inovio's Phase I study of VGX-3150, which consists of SynCon constructs against H1N1 and H5N1, is expected in Q2 2012.

More recently, human clinical study data from the firm’s H5N1 vaccine, designed using the same SynCon technology, demonstrated that the vaccine generated high levels of antigen-specific binding antibodies and exhibited a four-fold or greater rise in geometric mean titres (GMT) in the HAI assay (ranging from 1:20 to 1:80 HAI titres) against six different H5N1 virus strains.

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