Inovio Biomedical granted VGX Pharmaceuticals a worldwide, nonexclusive license to its DNA delivery technology for intratumoral delivery of a gene to control the growth of melanoma and other cancers. "Bringing together the combination of exciting Inovio technology for drug delivery with VGX's innovative technology for tumor killing provides a novel and important opportunity to attack and treat previously untreatable cancers," notes David Weiner, VGX co-founder.
Recent studies in a mouse model of melanoma showed efficient tumor regression after delivering VGX’ gene, VGX 150, with Inovio's electroporation technology. Electroporation enhances the cellular uptake and expression of genes encoding therapeutic proteins. It may also bypass some of the systemic effects of conventional cancer therapy.
Inovio’s MedPulser® DNA Electroporation Therapy System has been developed to optimize the delivery of DNA into muscle cells. The pulse for intramuscular DNA delivery is designed to create a low voltage field for a long duration. The electrode-needle array on the applicator consists of only one set of opposite pairs for a total of four needle-electrodes.
Under the terms of the agreement, VGX will give Inovio an upfront license fee, payments based on successful completion of clinical and regulatory milestones, and royalties on the sale of products covered by the license. VGX is preparing to file an IND for VGX-150 and expects to initiate a Phase I trial in the first quarter of 2007.