Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: INO), a leader in the development of therapeutic and preventive vaccines against cancers and infectious diseases, announced 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.