Inovio Biomedical will collaborate with the National Microbiology Laboratory of the Public Health Agency of Canada and the University of Pennsylvania to further evaluate its DNA vaccine candidates against the swine influenza A (H1N1) virus. The candidates will be tested against pandemic and seasonal strains in animal models, including a recently identified swine H1N1 strain.
Inovio’s influenza vaccine constructs were designed using the company’s SynCon™ technology, which synthetically defines antigens and gene sequences common across different viral subtypes or taxonomic groups of influenza. This is significant because the virus is constantly evolving. By early June scientists had characterized over 60 different gene sequences of the H1N1 virus among the first 259 samples isolated from humans.
“The current swine flu outbreak highlights the fact that the world cannot rely solely on the catch-up strategy of influenza vaccine design,” states J. Joseph Kim, Ph.D., Inovio’s CEO. “We need vaccines that provide at least some broad protective capability against evolving seasonal influenza strains and those with pandemic potential.”
Inovio scientists have created DNA vaccine candidates broadly targeting the H1N1, H2N2, H3N2, and H5N1 influenza subtypes, which make up the majority of seasonal and pandemic influenza. The three institutions previously collaborated and published on studies involving Inovio’s vaccines, including an evaluation of Inovio’s VGX-3400 H5N1 avian flu vaccine candidate.