Inovio Pharmaceuticals collaborates with US department to assess FMD synthetic vaccines’ potential
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a leader in the development of synthetic immunogens against cancers and infectious diseases, announced that it has entered into a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate Plum Island Animal Disease Center.
This collaboration will evaluate the efficacy of Inovio’s SynCon vaccines for foot & mouth disease (FMD) in important animal models including cattle, sheep, and pigs.
Inovio recently announced that it had designed and tested in animals a set of multi-subtype synthetic vaccine candidates for FMD clades A, O, C, and Asia. Following administration of these synthetic vaccines using Inovio’s proprietary vaccine delivery technology in swine and sheep, all the vaccines induced strong antibody and T cell immune responses. Inovio’s patented SynCon vaccines cannot cause the targeted disease, providing a safe approach to potentially protect against FMD and reduce its serious impact on global food supply and commerce.
FMD is highly infectious and, due to the fear of inadvertent spread to farm animals, research with the live virus to test vaccine efficacy is heavily restricted in the US to only the Plum Island Animal Disease Center. Inovio’s synthetic vaccines, by virtue of being non-live, non-replicating, and easily manufacturable, afford several potential advantages over other current vaccine approaches, including killed/attenuated virus vaccines and vectored vaccines. Under the CRADA, Inovio and DHS scientists will assess the potency of the vaccine candidates in neutralizing the infectivity of the virus and their efficacy in live virus challenge experiments.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio’s President and CEO, said: “FMD is the contagion posing the single greatest threat to the nation’s food security. We are pleased to work with the Department of Homeland Security on this important security initiative and appreciate their support to advance novel, efficient and rapidly manufacturable methods to effectively and safely protect our national food supply.”