Inovio and U.S. Army Co-developing Novel Vaccine That Completely Prevents Lethal Lassa Fever Infection in Pre-Clinical Study

PLYMOUTH MEETING, PA, USA I October 24, 2017 I Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:INO) today announced results of a study in which a DNA vaccine provided 100% protection for non-human primates challenged with a lethal dose of the Lassa fever virus. Lassa is a virulent hemorrhagic virus, similar to Ebola, which infects approximately 300,000 people annually.  These results were published in the most recent issue of Human Vaccines & Immunotherapeutics in an article entitled, “A DNA Vaccine Delivered by Dermal Electroporation Fully Protects Cynomolgus Macaques Against Lassa Fever,” by Inovio researchers and U.S. Army collaborators.

In the study, funded by a previously awarded $3.5 million grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the animals first received Inovio’s DNA vaccine against Lassa hemorrhagic fever via intradermal administration with CELLECTRA® delivery device. The animals were then challenged with a lethal dose of the Lassa virus.  All of the animals survived; in fact, none of the vaccinated animals displayed any signs of disease.

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Inovio demonstrates our full commitment to global public health in this innovative public/private partnership against a virulent virus with pandemic and bioterror potential. Our DNA-based platform is especially well-suited to rapidly respond to viral outbreaks and newly emerging pathogens due to its safety profile, ease and speed of development and manufacturing as well as the ability to be shipped and stored without a cold-chain environment. Inovio has shown these attributes most recently as the first organization to produce Zika and MERS vaccines and the first to report positive human data from these vaccine trials. Inovio will continue to lead in the global efforts to protect the world from multiple epidemic threats.”

Inovio is collaborating with Dr. Connie Schmaljohn, Chief Scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and her group. The goal of this public/private partnership is to develop vaccines that would facilitate rapid vaccination of U.S. troops stationed around the world against multiple deadly infectious diseases and protect civilian populations from pandemic and bioterror threats.

Lassa fever is an acute disease that annually infects up to 300,000 people, mostly in Central and West Africa regions. The disease can cause fever and hemorrhaging of various parts of the body -- including the eyes and nose -- and can be spread through contact with an infected rat. Person to person transmission is also possible, albeit less common. Immediate deaths from the infection are approximately 5,000 per year, but based on serologic surveys the estimated fatality rate is more than 50% of Lassa infected people because the infection can persist for at least one year after infection.

Because of rapid and wide global travel and commerce, Lassa is not only a major health threat in Africa, but throughout the world.  Lassa virus has been classified as a Category A biological threat agent by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  Along with MERS and Nipah, Lassa virus has been selected as the top potential global epidemic targets for new vaccine development by the newly-formed multi-billion dollar, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiative (CEPI) in 2017.

About Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Inovio is taking immunotherapy to the next level in the fight against cancer and infectious diseases. We are the only immunotherapy company that has reported generating T cells in vivo in high quantity that are fully functional and whose killing capacity correlates with relevant clinical outcomes with a favorable safety profile. With an expanding portfolio of immune therapies, the company is advancing a growing preclinical and clinical stage product pipeline. Partners and collaborators include MedImmune, The Wistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania, DARPA, GeneOne Life Science, Plumbline Life Sciences, ApolloBio Corporation, Drexel University, NIH, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Military HIV Research Program, and Laval University. For more information, visit www.inovio.com.

SOURCE: Inovio Pharmaceuticals

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