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Inovio expands licensing for synthetic biodefense vaccines
Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. expanded its existing license agreement on Nov. 14 with the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn), adding worldwide rights to technology and intellectual property for novel synthetic vaccines against potential biodefense pathogens, cancer, and infectious diseases.
The technologies were developed by UPenn Professor David Weiner and collaborators. Dr. Weiner is a pioneer in the field of DNA vaccines, and chairman of Inovio's scientific advisory board. All newly licensed products are in preclinical development, said the company.
Under the new agreement, Inovio gains rights to synthetic vaccines to prevent and/or treat:
Biodefense pathogens - includes the Ebola virus and the family of Filovirus such as Marburg - disease-causing agents that could potentially be used in bioterror attacks.
Intestinal infections – Clostridium difficile, or C. difficile, is an illness that most commonly affects older adults in hospitals or in long term care facilities, with symptoms ranging from diarrhea to life-threatening inflammation of the colon.
Cancer – new cancer therapeutic vaccines targeting Wilms' tumor gene.
Under the terms of the original license agreement completed in 2007, Inovio obtained exclusive worldwide rights to develop multiple DNA vaccines with the potential to treat and/or prevent HIV, hepatitis C virus, HPV and related diseases, and influenza. In a subsequent amendment in 2010, the license was expanded to include pandemic influenza, Chikungunya, foot-and-mouth disease, and chemokine and cytokine molecular adjuvant technologies.
Then in 2011, Inovio added an exclusive worldwide license for technology and intellectual property for novel DNA vaccines against prostate cancer, CMV (cytomegalovirus), malaria, hepatitis B, RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), and a new optimized IL-12 cytokine gene adjuvant. These prior and most recent agreements and amendments provide for milestone payments, and royalty payments, based on sales, to the University of Pennsylvania, according to the company.
"Our synthetic vaccine technology offers the potential to prevent and/or treat a broad array of cancers and infectious diseases, and has achieved best-in-class immune responses in human studies,” said Dr. Joseph Kim, Inovio president and chief executive officer. “This new intellectual property from an eminent synthetic vaccine research laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania broadens our opportunities to pursue important new infectious diseases, cancers and biodefense targets."