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Inovio Pharmaceuticals Zika Vaccine Produces Robust Immune Responses in Non-Human Primates

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., May 16, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (INO) today announced that testing of its synthetic vaccine for the Zika virus induced robust antibody and T cell responses in non-human primates (monkeys), demonstrating the product’s potential to prevent infection from this harmful pathogen.

Inovio synthetically generated DNA vaccine constructs targeting multiple Zika virus antigens using its SynCon vaccine technology. These SynCon constructs were administered using Inovio's CELLECTRA® electroporation delivery technology. Two doses of the Zika DNA vaccine delivered either intramuscularly or intradermally resulted in seroconversion, or the development of detectable specific antibodies in the blood, in all vaccinated non-human primates. Researchers also observed that vaccination generated robust and broad T cell responses as analyzed by the standardized T cell ELISPOT assay. These findings are vital given the potential importance of neutralizing antibodies in preventing infection and the role T cells play in clearing infection by killing cells that harbor the virus.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President & CEO, said, “With positive large animal results in hand we are moving aggressively to initiate and conduct our first Zika vaccine human trial in 2016.”

Dr. Kim will discuss Inovio’s Zika vaccine preclinical developments today at an international forum hosted and organized by the Foundation for Vaccine Research and The National Academy of Medicine called “Ebola, SARS, MERS, Nipah, Zika Virus and Beyond: Challenges and Opportunities for Vaccine Development” in Washington DC. This high-level international forum is an invitation-only 1½ day event for decision-makers from the public and private sectors.

Inovio is developing its Zika vaccine, GLS-5700, with GeneOne Life Sciences (011000.KS) and academic collaborators with whom Inovio has previously collaborated to advance its vaccines for Ebola and MERS into clinical development.

About the Zika Virus

First identified in Uganda, Zika virus subsequently spread to equatorial Asia and over the past two years has rapidly spread through the South Pacific, including Hawaii, and to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Zika virus is a flavivirus, a family of viruses including yellow fever, dengue, and West Nile virus, which are introduced to people through mosquito bites. Because the Aedes species of...