+Timos Papagatsias

Sunday 20 November 2011

AAV making a splash (?)

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Looking at Sanofi's early stage pipeline I noticed a couple of Gene Therapy products (coming through from Genzyme's pipeline) in Phase I development:
  • AAV2-sFLT01 for Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD, more about this disease here
  • AAV2-hAADC2 (human Aromatic L-Amino Acid Decarboxylase-2) for Parkinson's disease
As can be seen by the names of the candidates, they both make use of adeno-associated virus serotype 2 (AAV2) gene delivery technology. Doing some research around how Genzyme got hold of this tech, I stumbled across Avigen Inc.; Genzyme appears to have licensed the AAV technology from Avigen in 2005 and has been developing products based on it since then. 

A quick search for "AAV" or "adeno-associated virus" on clinicaltrials.gov returns 9 ongoing Phase I and Phase II studies (with about another 50 or so studies that have previously been completed/terminated). It is interesting to note at this point, that it is mainly AAV2 or AAV1 serotypes that are being used in these studies, despite development of other AAV serotypes (from serotype 3 all the way up to serotype 11 as well as some of their hybrid versions such as AAV-2/5). This is not entirely surprising, given the experience that researchers have working with these vectors. A nice recent review on AAV-based gene therapy can be found here.

The main problems with this gene delivery approach revolve mainly around safety (avoiding unwanted effects due to virus integration in the host genome), identifying the vector serotype with the appropriate tropism for the target tissue/organ and quite importantly, being able to achieve production of large high grade GMP amounts of viral vector.

So, I would be interested to see how Sanofi's trials develop and how the FDA will look upon this approach. Looking at some other interesting news around AAV-based therapeutics, AMT's Glybera failed to get approval by the EMA earlier this year, although it had shown some promising results (more info about Glybera, the AAV1-based delivery of lipoprotein lipase can be found here). Glybera would have been the first gene therapy product to be marketed in Europe, however now the program is suspended and AMT is facing tough financial problems

In conclusion, it is pretty early days for an AAV-based therapeutic to hit the market although a few companies are working in the field. I would keep an eye out for news coming from Ceregene though as they have a strong advisory board (including R.J. Samulski) and that could translate into some interesting tech and positive clinical outcomes.


Tuesday 9 August 2011

Trials, trials everywhere!

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Taking a look at what the large pharma companies are doing in terms of clinical trials that they have currently underway or planned to start in the near future one can get a feel of the current status of pharma and biotech R&D.

Looking a bit deeper at what is happening with vaccine- and gene therapy-related trials and who the major players are in these fields at the moment perhaps would allow for an estimate of where some really innovative and rsik-taking companies are being active. So, let's have a look at the graphs and tables below...
(All data is publicly available through clinicaltrials.gov; search parameters were "Open Studies | Industry", "Vaccine | Open Studies | Industry" and "Gene Therapy | Open Studies | Industry". Search results valid on 15th of July 2011.)
Novartis, Pfizer, Roche and GSK are the leaders in the number of open studies with each one of them having ~250 and above studies currently ongoing or planned to initiate soon. Altogether, the Top 10 companies account for approximately 16.5 % of the current/planned studies at the moment. 

But this only tells half the story, as you can see below...
Sanofi, #10 in terms of ongoing/planned studies (86), is recruiting ~940,000 volunteers into its studies (a large proportion of which involve vaccine candidates) and is followed by GSK who will be involving approximately 700,000 patients in its 248 trials. As you can see, GSK features in the Top 5 in terms of both number of studies and patients recruited. Pfizer and Novartis can be found further down the list with ~220,000 patients and ~110,000 patients to be recruited respectively.

So, no real surprises so far, with the "usual suspects" appearing at high positions in the lists and with GSK justifying its strong reputation amongst big Pharma. 

Time to look a bit more in detail on what is happening with studies involving vaccine and gene therapy candidates.

In terms of number of vaccine-related studies (see chart below), GSK tops the list with more than double the number of studies from its three followers, Pfizer, Novartis and Sanofi. Some interesting companies also appear on the list, such as Intercell, Bavarian Nordic, Crucell and Dendreon (going through some rough times at the moment).
Looking at the number of patients involved in vaccine-related studies, no real surprise there-Sanofi leads the pack with almost 900,000 patients. However, GSK is again in the picture, claiming a second place with almost 650,000 patients enrolled or planned to be enrolled in its vaccine studies. Pfizer is #3 in this list with only 90,000 patients in its studies.

So far, GSK has almost dominated the different lists, but the situation is somewhat different when we take a look at companies who are active in the Gene Therapy field. Names such as Oxford Biomedica, Sibiono Genetech, Genzyme, Introgen and Diamyd dominate the Top 10 list.
In terms of numbers of patients recruited in these studies, Sibiono is a clear winner, with 2,400 patients recruited in its 3 studies with its recombinant adenovirus p53 candidate. NovaRx, with its candidate for treatment of NSCLC Lucanix (which is in fact merging the concepts of Gene Therapy and Vaccine) is second in the list with ~500 patients enrolled in its single study.   
So here it is, a view of the current status of clinical trials and what the large (and small) pharma and biotech companies are doing at the moment. Obviously, I had to rely on the search engine within clinicaltrials.gov, so it is quite likely that a few trials have been omitted from these results, however, I do not believe that the results are significantly affected by this.

Overall, GSK is really strong and very active, both in terms of number of trials and numbers of patients enrolled. I believe that this is to be expected. GSK's strategy seems to be aligned with expansion in all therapeutic areas either through partnerships and collaborations but also through acquisitions. And the company now seems to be establishing itself as the dominant player in the vaccines field. Obviously, big names such Sanofi and Pfizer still maintain a strong presence; and let's not forget about Novartis, one of the most innovative biotech companies around.

Although some big names dominate the lists in terms of clinical trials as a whole and in terms of trials involving vaccine candidates, the situation is strikingly different when it comes to Gene Therapy trials. Smaller in size companies appear to be active in this field, something which should perhaps be expected due to the higher than average risks involved in development of gene therapy candidates and the higher versatility and focus that small companies exhibit. Sibiono is the clear leader at the moment, being the first company to market a Gene Therapy product (Gendicine, a recombinant adenovirus expressing the p53 gene for treatment of  head-and-neck cancer on top of radiotherapy). Oxford Biomedica appears on the list, with its Parkinson's treatment candidate, ProSavin.

One company not mentioned in this list, but worth having a look at, is Scancell, a UK-based company with its pioneering ImmunoBody technology which has applications both in the treatment of cancer and in infectious diseases.

It will be interesting to repeat this analysis in one or two years' time, when R&D restructuring and process optimization by the major pharma companies will have taken place and when, hopefully, more funds will have been available for development of innovative treatments.
However, I would predict that more medium sized players will be featuring in these lists, either on their own, but more likely in partnership with one (or more) of the big pharma companies, who will be looking to bring "innovation" into their pipelines.


Sunday 26 June 2011

"Profecting" vaccines for HIV?

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Profectus Biosciences develops novel vaccine approaches, primarily focussing on HIV and HCV. Formed in 2003, as a spinout of the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) at the University of Maryland, Profectus includes amongst its founders well-known names in the field of virology research: Dr Robert Gallo, Dr William Blattner and Dr Robert Redfield; the same group are also members of the company's scientific advisory board

In 2008, Profectus has in-licensed Wyeth's HIV, HCV HepB and HSV vaccine programs which allowed it access to Wyeth's proprietary DNA and vectored vaccine technologies. According to the company's website, focus is placed on therapeutic vaccination and on development of immunotherapeutics

The therapeutic vaccination protocols are based on "prime-boosting" approaches. Profectus uses modified plasmid DNA (pDNA) vectors for priming the immune system against HIV antigens and then "boosts" the generated responses through vaccination with a Vesicular Stomatitis Vector (VSV). The priming process is enhanced by the simultaneous expression of interleukin-12 (from a different co-administered plasmid) and the use of electroporation for delivery of the pDNA. The company has already completed a set of experiments in non-human primates, demonstrating strong immunogenicity and safety. 

Some more information on Profectus' exciting and pioneering technology of "transition-state vaccines" and genetic adjuvants being developed by the company can be found here. The "transition-state vaccine" approach (a quite promising approach, however, still in its infancy) basically aims on targeting key antigenic regions and their structural conformations presented to the immune system only for small amounts of time during an infection process; characteristic example is the interaction of HIV's gp120 with the CD4 receptor. In terms of adjuvant systems in development, Profectus is combining the enzymatically-active region of cholera toxin (CTA1) with a number of cytokines. Although the use of adjuvants in vaccine products is widely considered to be necessary for augmenting vaccine efficacy, extremely stringent FDA regulations have resulted in no adjuvanted vaccines being approved for almost 80 years (apart from vaccines containing alum), other than the recent approval of GSK's Cervarix in 2009.

Where things become really interesting is the immunotherapeutics approach that Profectus has chosen to follow. In short the company is developing NF-κB inhibitors, and more specifically, inhibitors of p65 (one of the components of the NF-κB heterodimer). As the company states on its website, inhibition of NF-κB will result in suppression of the immune activation caused by certain viral infections, which will in turn lead to a better prognosis and slower disease progression. In my opinion, this is quite a risky strategy and has to be coupled with a targeted delivery approach. NF-κB is involved in the majority of cellular pathways and shutting those pathways down could simply cause more problems rather than solve them. However, targeted delivery of such inhibitors could well be extremely useful, especially in certain forms of cancers (solid tumours) where NF-κB inhibition-induced apoptosis would slow down tumour growth. Additionally, in cells infected by viral pathogens, shutting down NF-κB would result in apoptosis, decreased virus production and spread, and would additionally generate a good source of antigen for generation of antiviral immune responses.

Since its incorporation, Profectus Biosciences has received a substantial amount of money in terms of grants and private investments (approximately $44 million; a breakdown of this funding  is shown on the table below).

Date Funds received ($M) 
Total 43.75
25-May-11Phase I start

You can find some more information on the Phase I trial by Profectus here. Briefly, the company is testing the effect of IL-12 on the immunogenicity of their HIV vaccine candidate, MAG pDNA. The vaccine will be delivered via electroporation and the trial will recruit 60 individuals. As this is developed as a therapeutic vaccine, subjects enrolled in the trial will be HIV-infected with CD4 counts of greater or equal to 500 cells/μl of blood and will remain on antiretroviral therapy throughout the study duration. The study duration is anticipated to be 36 weeks, which puts a publication of results likely to take place in Q2 2012.

Profectus appears to be a strong investment proposal, however, a more informed opinion could be formed towards the middle of next year, with Phase I results available, and that period could constitute a possible investment entry point. Strong Phase I results will lead to increased interest from potential biotech/pharma partners, something that will push the company's value upwards; nevertheless, the risk associated with HIV vaccine development is still high.

Below you can find a graphic depicting estimated rNPV for Profectus Biosciences and its HIV-vaccine candidate (data to 2031). Calculations are based on a heavily modified version of BioGenetic Ventures' previously published model.

PV of RevenueNPV of Cash FlowRisk-Adjusted NPV
$ 710,247,523$ 160,799,596 $ 20,216,720

The following table highlights some of the key assumptions used to "feed" the model. A very modest estimate has been used for the price of a potentially successful HIV vaccine; HIV infections growth rate should also be viewed with caution, as the increased use of ARVs will slow down the epidemic spread over the next 10 years-in fact signs of reduction are already evidentAdditionally, the incorporation of ARVs into HIV vaccine clinical trials (which makes it more difficult for a vaccine candidate to show efficacy) has not been calculated in this model, as not enough data is currently available. 

Total number of HIV-infected individuals33,000,000*
HIV infections growth rate8.997%*
Peak market penetration (years) 3
Revenue per unit ($)150
Revenue Years12
Number of Subjects Phase I60
Number of Subjects Phase II600
Number of Subjects Phase III5,000
* UNAIDS Report 2010≠ Very modest estimate

Profectus is an interesting company with a significant potential for profit generation, should its technology and vaccination approaches show promising results in the clinic. Competition from other HIV vaccine development companies is expected to be fierce but Profectus is definitely a company to watch closely.


Monday 25 April 2011

"Next generation vaccines" from Etubics Corporation

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Etubics Corporation is experimenting with developing new generation adenoviral-based vectors that can be used in vaccination protocols and other gene delivery approaches. The company's proprietary Adenovirus Vector Vaccine Platform (AVVP) technology can be used to construct gene delivery vectors that can be incorporated in vaccination protocols that require repeat administrations; according to the company's website, this is due to the extensive genetic deletions of the adenoviral genome which reduce vector-associated immunity issues. Etubics also claims that its adenoviral vector system can induce both antibody and cell-mediated immune responses, even in the presence of pre-existing adenovirus immunity. For those more interested in finding out some more about Etubics' AVVP, a recently published patent contains some more information.

An interesting point of discussion regarding Etubics investability is the fact that the potential for success for the AVVP technology still remains to be demonstrated through conclusive late stage clinical trials. The company has advanced various vaccine candidates (breast cancer, HIV amongst others) to preclinical stage but it has yet to conduct a large scale trial that will demonstrate successful application of its technology (according to the company's pipeline information webpage, a Phase III programme in colon cancer is due to start in 2013).

Currently, the company operates with grants and contracts from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) and the National Institute of Health (NIH). Additionally, extra investment has originated from private investors and company employees/owners. Etubics claims that it has brought its technology from "bench to bedside" with a total cost under $5 million (although a more realistic representation of the true costs incurred so far can be found in the company's factsheet, which sates that approximately $20 million have been spent on developing the AVVP technology).

It will be interesting to see how Etubics fares in the adenovirus-based vector field in the next 3-5 years, when its products will have progressed further along the clinical pipeline. A direct competitor to the company is Crucell (recently acquired by J&J), with its proprietary PER.C6 technology and its AdVac system that utilises rare serotype adenoviral vectors, thus avoiding or minimising issues of pre-existing immunity (but not necessarily avoiding issues with repeat administrations). In comparison, Etubics' vector system is based on serotype 5 adenoviruses, one of the most common strains.

We anticipate that positive clinical results will generate strong interest around Etubics and its AVVP technology both from private investors as well as large biotech/pharma companies that could use this technology to complement/strengthen their pipeline portfolio. The results from a Phase I trial with the company's carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) vaccine candidate, due to come out in the second half of 2011, should hopefully provide an indication of the technology's future potential.

Sunday 20 March 2011

"Shaping" new vaccines

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On March 8th 2011, Liquidia Technologies announced that it has received $10 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to develop new vaccine candidates utilizing its proprietary PRINT (Particle Replication In Non-Wetting Templates) technology. For those that have been following the activities of the Gates Foundation, it will immediately be evident that this type of activity, i.e. akin to a VC firm, is quite different to the normal grant process that the Foundation was, and still is, employing when financing a project. One can refer to the Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery (CAVD), a network of research teams that the Foundation set up and funded with $355 million in order to work towards development of an HIV vaccine, to understand the scope and basic functions of this charity organization.

Liquidia Technologies was founded in 2004 and is currently being backed up (besides the Gates Foundation) by New Enterprise Associates, Canaan Partners, Pappas Ventures, Firelake Capital Management, the Wakefield Group as well as private investors. This is a strong group of investors that, in theory, could assist Liquidia in its plans for rapid growth. Canaan Partners are well known and active investors in companies such as VaxInnate (recently in the news for receiving $117.9 million over three years-potentially rising to $196.6 million over five years- by the HHS, for development of influenza vaccine candidates) and Chimerix, a company that develops orally available antiviral agents, using its Phospholipid Intramembrane Microfluidization (PIM) technology.

What is really exciting about Liquidia's PRINT technology is the ability to control and modify at will the shape, size, chemical composition and, in general, most parameters that play a role in the immunomodulatory properties of a vaccine candidate. The company proposes formulating a vaccine agent or a drug, on a PRINT-produced dissolvable particle. Making use of the ability of the immune system to recognize and distinguish between 3D shapes of proteins and pathogenic/self structural components, such a particle could possess the shape of a bacterial component that triggers a specific immune response, or the structural conformation of a cytoplasm-localized protein, that would facilitate transport of the active ingredient through the cell membrane.

From an investor's perspective, Liquidia constitutes an attractive case. PRINT technology should generally increase the efficacy of a vaccine and could be employed to generate an adjuvant effect; these features will drive costs of vaccine production down and discard the need for use of non-approved adjuvant agents (the FDA is known for its reluctance to approve novel adjuvants). PRINT particles can also be combined with existing vaccines, and this opens up a wealth of opportunities for Liquidia. The company has recently announced the initiation of its first clinical trial, testing its lead seasonal flu vaccine candidate, LIQ001. A quick look at the clinicaltrials.gov website reveals that LIQ001 is being tested as a combination with sanofi's Fluzone; the trial has finished recruitment and is expected to complete in late 2011 with results available in early 2012. As this trial constitutes the company's first attempt of progressing the PRINT-based technology from proof-of-concept into the clinic, we are waiting impatiently to see the results. Liquidia has also signed an agreement with the PATH Malaria Vaccine Initiative (MVI) for the use of PRINT technology in the development of a new generation of malaria vaccines; we believe this is a strategic step, crucial for the company's further development and a collaboration that should yield large amounts of clinical trial data, necessary for further evaluation of PRINT.

Looking into the future, a company such as Liquidia, constitutes an attractive target for acquisition/partnership from a larger biotech or pharma company. Despite the company's recent investment influx and collaborative agreements, it still remains very interesting to see how PRINT technology will navigate the regulatory path and to pressure-test its limitations and advantages.

Monday 21 February 2011

It all started with EpiMatrix...

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Applying computational approaches to immunogen selection and modification has set new standards in vaccine design. Consider codon optimization, a method which allowed scientists to circumvent codon usage bias in order to achieve high levels of difficult-to-express proteins outside their native hosts. Codon optimization has helped immensely in the development of HIV prototype vaccines where viral genes (gag, env, pol etc.) were expressed in the absence of the Rev-RRE system.

Achieving efficient expression of a vaccine agent in the target tissue/cell, however, does not always guarantee the desired immunogenic effect; and this is where companies like EpiVax can be very useful. Using the tools and technologies available by the company, one can identify putative T cell epitopes (EpiMatrix), MHC Class II epitope clusters (ClustiMer), human(or other species)-like peptides (BlastiMer), de-immunize a protein sequence (thereby creating alternative candidates with altered immunogenic profiles) (OptiMatrix-in combination with their DeFT service) and finally identify conserved epitopes (Conservatrix) in multiple sequences of highly mutating pathogens, such as HIV. The company has also recently introduced VaccineCAD, which is a vaccine-design algorithm that assists in alignment of selected immunogenic epitopes in a vaccine construct, avoiding (or at least reducing) the formation of "nonsense" epitopes, usually appearing at junctions between consecutive epitopes. If you want to check out the web versions of all of EpiVax's tools, head over to the iVAX website.

EpiVax looks a promising company with services that are already finding their way in multiple stages of vaccine design. In addition, we are convinced that its DeFT service can have a significant impact in the field of Gene Therapy, where de-immunization of transgenes is of paramount importance. The company has received several awards from the NIH and it is now making good strides in establishing itself as an one-stop-shop for immunoinformatics. For some more information, here is an article by EpiVax's Founder, CEO and CSO, Dr Annie De Groot.

Tuesday 8 February 2011

Immune Design steps up and gets noticed…again...and again!

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Back in July, Immune Design raised $32 million in a Series B financing; that’s quite a bit of money and brings the total up to $50 million since 2008. Amongst the leading investors we can see ProQuest Investments (who also have in their portfolio companies like Aerovance, who develops asthma-combating drugs, and  Somalogic, who develops novel diagnostics tools for oncology, neurology and CV diseases), The Column Group, Versant Ventures and Alta Partners.
Now the company is making waves once again by licensing out its proprietary GLA (Glucopyranosyl Lipid Adjuvant) to MedImmune, for it to be used as an immunomodulating agent in vaccines for select infectious diseases. GLA is a TLR-4 agonist and is considered to be the next generation of MPL (Monophosphoryl Lipid A), an adjuvant originally developed by Corixa and currently being used in vaccines produced by GSK, following the latter's acquisition of Corixa. GLA was originally licensed to Immune Design by the Infectious Disease Research Insitute, IDRI, of Seattle.
Immune Design's approach to vaccine design and development is pretty straightforward: targeting of dendritic cells (DC) with their proprietary vector (DC-NILV, Dendritic Cell targeting Non-Integrating Lentivirus Vector)  coupled with GLA.  Not surprisingly, and given their “talent” for attracting investment, Immune Design had already been identified as an emerging drug developer by FierceBiotech in 2008.
The company has some big names on its Scientific Advisory board. Lary Corey is heavily involved in HIV vaccine clinical trials, Rafi Ahmed is involved in HIV vaccine research as well, David Baltimore developed the prototype lentivirus vector that Immune Design are now using (and of course has received the Nobel prize for the discovery of reverse transcriptase!), Philip Greenberg who works on modulating T-cell responses to viruses, Inder Verma, who develops gene therapy vectors and Ralph Steinman who is credited with the discovery of dendritic cells. Throw in the mix someone like Richard Klausner who was an Executive Director for Global Health at the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation and Director of the National Cancer Institute and you end up with a pretty strong team. David Baltimore and Richard Klausner are also on the board of Directors. Immune Design also has a strong executive team; you can find more info here. Given the structure of the Scientific and Exec boards, Immune Design venturing into the world of HIV vaccines pretty soon looks a real possibility.
Although the company appears a promising and investable package, it lacks in variety of antigen delivery systems and adjuvants. Looking at their technology, as shown on their website page, the company seems to have been built around a single vector-adjuvant system, not a particularly "safe" approach-a profitable one so far though, as the GLA licensing deal with MedImmune will give Immune Design $212 million. The ability, however, to directly and specifically target DC is a major advantage and should yield exciting results in the years to come. It can be expected that they will seek to partner with companies that are quite geared towards antigen modification for enhancement of immune responses, such as SEEK (formerly known as PepTcell) a company with universal flu and HIV vaccines in Phase II clinical trials.


Wednesday 26 January 2011

Inovio Pharmaceuticals

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals specializes in creating vaccines with superior characteristics in terms of immunogenicity and T cell responses.

At the heart of the company's development pipeline lies its proprietary 
SynCon™ DNA Vaccine Platform technology which is described on the company's website as: 
"More technically speaking, SynCon™ DNA vaccine antigens are designed by aligning numerous primary sequences and choosing DNA-based triplets for the most common amino acid at each site. These antigens are further optimized for codon usage, improved mRNA stability, and enhanced leader sequences for ribosome loading. The DNA inserts are therefore optimized at the genetic level to give them high expression capability in human cells."

I am not so sure how much this differs from other codon-optimization approaches (see Geneart for example) but, coupled with Inovio's electroporation technology, makes the company a strong competitor in the field of genetic vaccines.

Inovio's list of Partners includes Merck and Co., the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases amongst others (see here for more information).

The company has recently announced a $24.3 million registered offering, with the proceeds going towards further development of its DNA vaccine candidate against cervical dysplasias and cancers, as well as towards funding of other preclinical and clinical studies (the full announcement from the company can be found here).

We believe that DNA vaccines constitute one of the most important developments in the last 10 or so years, in the vaccine field. Technically speaking, a DNA vaccine consists of a DNA sequence coding for the desired immunogen, combined with an appropriate delivery method (most commonly used nowadays an intramuscular injection or a transdermal delivery approach) and preferably complemented with an immunomodulating adjuvant agent. Inovio Pharmaceuticals seems to be ticking all the boxes, or at least has made good progress towards developing truly novel DNA vaccines, with a gene optimization algorithm that allows for ehanced transcription/translation of its products and with an efficient delivery method in the form of electroporation. 

It is quite interesting to see vaccine companies such as Inovio Pharmaceuticals, making use of electroporation for the delivery of their vaccines; DNA vaccines, especially the very first ones that were based on early generation plasmid backbones, are inherently difficult to deliver to the target site and achieve long-lasting expression or even a strong immune response to begin with. Electroporation seems to solve the delivery problem and in certain cases can also have an adjuvant effect through associated cell death and local site inflammation following vaccine delivery. Of course the debate over usefulness and the best delivery method between viral vectors and approaches such as electroporation still holds on, but for the time being, and until we start seeing these approaches reaching late stage clinical trials and the market, one should choose the most appropriate method depending on their needs. 

In the meantime, Inovio Pharmaceuticals looks to be well positioned for a strong "push" forward. The company is currently running clinical trials in the cancer (cervical, breast, lung and others) and infectious diseases (HIV and influenza) fields. More information on positive results from its Phase I HIV vaccine trial can be found here.