Healthcare Industry News: Head and Neck Cancer
News Release - November 14, 2006
Inovio Biomedical Grants VGX Pharmaceuticals License to Develop Novel Cancer TherapeuticSAN DIEGO--(HSMN NewsFeed)--Inovio Biomedical Corp. (AMEX: INO ), a leader in enabling the development of DNA vaccines using electroporation-based DNA delivery, announced today it has granted VGX Pharmaceuticals a worldwide non-exclusive license to its DNA delivery technology for intratumoral delivery of a proprietary gene to control the growth of melanoma and other cancers. Under the terms of the agreement, Inovio will receive from VGX an upfront license fee and payments based on successful completion of clinical and regulatory milestones. Inovio will exclusively supply VGX with electroporation devices for the therapy included in the license agreement and will receive royalties on the sale of products covered by the license.
The peer-reviewed journal Molecular Therapy recently published a scientific paper(1) describing VGX data from a mouse model showing complete regression of established melanoma tumors after delivery, using electroporation, of the VGX gene in the form of a plasmid (VGX 150). Dr. David Weiner, VGX co-founder and co-author of the scientific paper, said, "Bringing together the combination of exciting Inovio technology for drug delivery with VGX's innovative technology for tumor killing provides a novel and important opportunity to attack and treat previously untreatable cancers. In my opinion, this partnership will significantly propel the field of biotechnology forward."
VGX is preparing to file an Investigational New Drug Application (IND) for VGX-150 and expects to initiate a Phase I clinical trial in the first quarter of 2007.
"Our enabling MedPulser® DNA EPT System is currently being tested in melanoma with a number of cytokine genes. VGX's proprietary viral gene sequence may have important anti-tumor effects independent of immune response and represents a new approach to treating cancer," stated Avtar Dhillon, MD, president and CEO of Inovio. "Dr. Weiner is well-recognized for his leadership in helping pioneer the field of DNA vaccines and we are delighted to add VGX to the growing list of corporate licensees using our technology."
About Inovio's DNA Delivery Technology for Tumors
Direct intratumoral delivery of genes encoding therapeutic proteins, using electroporation to dramatically enhance cellular uptake and expression of plasmid-based genes, represents a novel form of cancer therapy that along with skin and muscle DNA vaccination is a key part of the overall DNA delivery franchise being developed by Inovio. Intratumoral delivery of therapeutic genes may bypass some of the detrimental systemic effects of conventional cancer therapy. Recent studies in a mouse model of melanoma demonstrated considerable efficiency in causing the regression of established tumors after delivery of VGX's gene with Inovio's electroporation technology.
About VGX Pharmaceuticals
VGX Pharmaceuticals is a leading biopharmaceutical company with strong product candidates for the treatment of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C virus (HCV) as well as cancer and inflammatory diseases. The Company's clinical development programs include PICTOVIR(TM) for HIV infection and VGX-410C for chronic HCV infection, which are currently in Phase II clinical trials. A Phase I clinical trial will be initiated in 2007 for the Company's lead cancer drug compound, VGX-150, for the treatment of melanoma. VGX Pharmaceuticals' therapeutic platform is designed to advance a strong and continual pipeline of additional drug candidates into the clinic with VGX-100 for cancer therapy and VGX-1027 and VGX-750 for inflammatory diseases currently in development. The product candidates and technology programs are protected by the Company's extensive global intellectual property portfolio. More information about VGX can be found at www.vgxp.com.
About Inovio Biomedical Corporation
Inovio Biomedical Corporation is a late stage biomedical company focused on commercializing its proprietary Selective Electrochemical Tumor Ablation (SECTA) therapy and development of multiple DNA vaccines using its delivery platform for gene-based treatments. SECTA is designed for local treatment of solid tumors, with selective killing of cancer cells while preserving surrounding healthy tissue. Inovio is moving its lead product, the MedPulser®, through pre-marketing studies for Head and Neck Cancer and skin cancers in Europe, where it has CE Mark accreditation, a U.S. Phase III pivotal study for Head and Neck Cancer, and a Phase I trial for breast cancer. Inovio's DNA delivery partners include Merck, Wyeth, Vical, Tripep, University of Southampton, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, U.S. Army, Innogenetics and Pharmexa, with six gene-based therapies and DNA vaccines in Phase I clinical studies. Inovio is a leader in developing human therapeutic applications of electroporation and DNA vaccination, with the industry's most extensive patent portfolio covering in vivo electroporation. More information is available at www.inovio.com.
This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our plans to develop our electroporation drug and gene delivery technology. Actual events or results may differ from our expectations as a result of a number of factors, including the uncertainties inherent in clinical trials and product development programs (including, but not limited to, the fact that pre-clinical results referenced in this release may not be indicative of results achievable from testing in humans), the availability of funding to support continuing research and studies in an effort to prove safety and efficacy of Inovio's technology as a delivery mechanism, the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by Inovio or its collaborators , including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost-effective than any therapy or treatment that Inovio and its collaborators hope to develop, evaluation of potential opportunities, issues involving patents and whether they or licenses to them will provide Inovio with meaningful protection from others using the covered technologies, whether such proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity and whether Inovio can finance or devote other significant resources that may be necessary to prosecute, protect or defend them, the level of corporate expenditures, assessments of our technology by potential corporate or other partners or collaborators, capital market conditions, and other factors set forth in the our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2005, our Form 10-Q for the nine months ended September 30, 2006, and other regulatory filings. There can be no assurance that any product in our product pipeline will be successfully developed or manufactured, or that final results of clinical studies will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products.
(1) Molecular Therapy, November 2006, Complete regression of established subcutaneous B16 murine melanoma tumors after delivery of an HIV-1 Vpr-expressing plasmid by in vivo electroporation. McCray AN, Ugen KE, Muthumani K, Kim JJ, Weiner DB, Heller R.
Source: Inovio Biomedical
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