Non-invasive integrated injection and electroporation device could enhance mass immunisation against infectious diseases
Inovio is to acquire all of Bioject Medical Technologies' assets, including needle-free jet injection technology, devices, and intellectual property, for US$5.5m in cash and stock.
Inovio aims to further develop an integrated drug delivery device that combines Bioject’s jet injection technology with Inovio's new needle-free, skin-surface electroporation (EP) technology.
Bioject’s devices, which use high pressure gas or springs to propel liquid medicine into skin, have shown in previous research that they can be safely tolerated in animals and humans.
But injecting DNA immunotherapies into tissue alone, irrespective of the injection method, has not previously generated strong immune responses in clinical studies, the firm said.
One reason for Inovio’s success has been to combine intramuscular needle-based injection and EP technology, which enables DNA to be transported into the cells and is suitable for treating infectious diseases and cancer.
This purchase of Bioject’s superior jet injection technology and well-positioned patents is an investment in Inovio’s future
Immunising large populations against infectious diseases using DNA vaccines will also require EP delivery. This would also benefit from a combined jet injection/electroporation device capable of reducing administration inconsistency, pain, and disposables costs associated with needle-based injection, the firm said.
Joseph Kim, Inovio’s CEO, said: 'Our current DNA delivery method is highly effective and already gets the job done. However, to fully realise the opportunity of mass immunisation against challenging infectious diseases we believed we could create an additional advantage: that is non-invasive vaccine administration. Similar to our past acquisitions of Advisys and Inovio AS, this purchase of Bioject’s superior jet injection technology and well-positioned patents is an investment in Inovio’s future.'
He added: 'Jet injection alone cannot achieve the utility of DNA vaccines. However, combined with our new needle-free skin-surface electroporation delivery technology we believe we can offer a compelling solution to protect against RSV, ever-changing influenza strains, and emerging infectious diseases like Zika.'
The closing of this deal is expected in approximately 30 days.