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Inovio Deploys DNA-based Monoclonal Antibody Technology in Quest to Cure HIV

Funding for Potential Breakthrough Therapy is Part of Prestigious NIH/Delany Grant for Industry-Academic Collaboration

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., July 14, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) today announced that its novel DNA-based monoclonal antibody technology will be deployed to develop products which could be used alone and in combination with other immunotherapies in the pursuit of new ways to treat and potentially cure infection from the HIV virus.

In a recently published article, Inovio demonstrated that a single administration in mice of a highly optimized dMAb® DNA, which targets HIV, generated antibody molecules in the bloodstream that possessed desirable functional activity including high antigen-binding and HIV-neutralization capabilities against diverse strains of HIV viruses.

Funding for Inovio's effort to treat and potentially cure HIV is part of a $23 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to The Wistar Institute, an Inovio collaborator. This grant brings together Inovio and more than 30 of the nation's leading HIV investigators to work on finding a cure for the virus. The grant, called BEAT-HIV: Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy, is one of six awarded by the NIH as part of the Martin Delaney Collaboratories for HIV Cure Research.

"A simple, safe and scalable cure for HIV would accelerate progress toward ending the HIV/AIDS pandemic," said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) Director Anthony S. Fauci
, M.D. "Through the leadership of talented investigators with a diversity of expertise, the Martin Delaney Collaboratory program will accelerate progress in this key research endeavor."

Dr. J. Joseph Kim
, Inovio's President & CEO, said, "With 37 million people infected with HIV still awaiting a cure to HIV, we are pleased that our new HIV dMAb products are expanding our initiative alongside our breakthrough DNA vaccine products to potentially help these patients."

Inovio has demonstrated experience in advancing HIV product candidates. Inovio completed initial clinical studies of its HIV immunotherapy PENNVAX®-B, targeting clade B viruses, to achieve proof of principle in generating potent immune responses using its SynCon® immunotherapy technology. In two published phase I studies, PENNVAX-B immunization generated high levels of activated, antigen-specific CD8+ killer T cells with proper functional characteristics. This ability uniquely positioned PENNVAX as an important vaccine candidate to prevent and treat HIV infections.

Using a $25 million grant from the NIAID, Inovio designed its universal, multi-antigen PENNVAX-GP vaccine targeting the env, gag and pol antigens to provide global coverage against all major HIV-1 clades. PENNVAX-GP is Inovio's lead preventive and therapeutic immunotherapy for HIV...