Data released yesterday from a study of an experimental prostate cancer vaccine showed that Inovio Biomedical‘s delivery system significantly enhanced the vaccine’s potency. In the Phase I/II study, some patients received the vaccine through Inovio’s electroporation technology, which uses brief, controlled electrical pulses to increase cellular uptake of gene expression in DNA-based treatments; this enhances the potency of DNA-based immunotherapies against cancers and infectious diseases. Patients who received the prostate cancer vaccine the Inovio way demonstrated safety, tolerability and significantly higher antibody responses than those who were treated without it.
Inovio, which is actively licensing its electroporation technology to pharmaceutical companies, including Wyeth and Merck, also is moving forward with commercializing its Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation (SECTA) therapy. SECTA is designed to selectively kill cancerous cells and minimize cosmetic or functional detriments often caused by surgical removal of the healthy tissue around a tumor. The therapy is CE Mark accredited in Europe for head and neck, and skin cancers. In the U.S., a Phase III pivotal study for head and neck cancer, and a Phase I/II trial for breast cancer are underway.
May’s been good to San Diego-based Inovio. Just last week, the company announced a pending equity funding transaction worth about $16.2 million. Update: The financing closed on May 25, at $16.17 million.