Inovio Biomedical is engaged in the design, development and delivery of DNA vaccines for the prevention and treatment of cancers and infectious diseases. The company today announced that a combination of its synthetic consensus (SynCon) H1N1 influenza vaccine candidates achieved protective antibody responses against A/H1N1 (2009) in 100% of the ferrets in its animal study.

While the company has delivered “promising” results in similar studies with mice and pigs, according to the company, the ferret model is the most similar representation of human influenza. Today’s positive news marks a significant achievement for the company and its vaccine development.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s CEO, said the results of the study correlate with the company’s mission of meeting the challenges and dangers associated with the H1N1 influenza head on with a universal vaccine.

“This is another important step on our development path toward a universal influenza vaccine, which is intended to be a proactive rather than reactive approach to addressing both seasonal and pandemic strains. The beauty of our approach is that we can design universal DNA vaccines with broad protective capabilities against known and unknown strains,” Dr. Kim stated in the press release. “Our H1N1 vaccine candidates have achieved the desired outcomes in several relevant animal models against multiple unmatched virus strains. We are advancing our program with H1N1 as well as for the H2, H3 and H5 sub-types that would also be components of a universal vaccine. To this end, we have initiated cGMP clinical product manufacturing of our H1N1 SynCon™ vaccine candidate.”

Dr. Niranjan Y. Sardesai, Inovio’s senior vice president of Research and Development, presented the company’s study results at the Vaccine 3rd Global Congress in Singapore in a presentation entitled, “Development of Universal SynCon™ DNA Vaccines for Pandemic and Seasonal Flu.”

Dr. Sardesai highlighted the significance of Inovio’s results and SynCon’s advantage over conventional vaccinations.

“Achieving positive data from the important ferret model is a vital addition to the positive mice and swine data we already reported for our H1N1 SynCon™ DNA vaccine candidates. Together with our previously published H5N1 avian flu virus data, which highlighted the vaccine’s cross-reactivity and broad immunogenicity across unmatched strains and included protection data in mice, ferrets, and non-human primates, these new H1N1 results further demonstrate the potential to protect against new strains of influenza that do not specifically match the vaccine – unlike conventional vaccines, which are strain-specific and usually provide limited protection against emerging, divergent strains of influenza,” Dr. Sardesai stated.