Simultaneous delivery of vaccines to different areas of the body could reduce immune interference associated with combination vaccines. Inovio Pharmaceuticals is now testing the feasibility of using its device, which delivers vaccines through the skin, in this context.
"This device would provide a means to painlessly deliver multiple vaccines simultaneously, bringing improved protection against infectious diseases to both military and civilian populations”, said Joseph Kim, president and CEO of Inovio.
Testing of the device is supported by a US Department of Defense (DOD) Small Business Innovation Research Grant. The DOD increased its interest in delivery to multiple areas of the body after discovering vaccines for Lassa and Hantaan viruses lose potency when combined.
It is hoped delivering Lassa and Hantaan DNA vaccines to different areas of the body will reduce the immune interference that occurs when they are formulated together. The Lassa and Hantaan viruses are on the DOD list of pathogens for development of biological countermeasures.
Final testing of the device will involve delivering Lassa and Hantaan DNA vaccines to different areas of the body. Before reaching this stage Inovio will work to determine the optimal distance between vaccination sites.
Although the initial focus is on Lassa and Hantaan viruses the device could have applications anytime vaccination against multiple emerging infectious disease and pandemic threats is needed.
Q4, full year results
News of the DOD grant emerged days after Inovio published its fourth quarter and full year results. Revenue for the fourth quarter was down slightly year-on-year, continuing the trend seen in 2010.
Termination of the Wyeth collaboration in July 2009 slashed license fees and contributed to the decline in total revenues.