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Issue Date: Feb. 15, 2006 issue, Posted On: 2/23/2006

Inovio to develop vaccine for hepatitis C virus

SAN DIEGO — Inovio Biomedical Corp., a biotechnology company, has signed an agreement with Sweden-based Tripep AB to develop a therapeutic vaccine for hepatitis C virus. Hepatitis C virus is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide.

The U.S. hepatitis C virus market is currently calculated at $1.4 billion, representing 100,000 people treated each year. It is estimated that between 15 million and 20 million people are chronically infected with the hepatitis C virus in the industrial world, translating to a worldwide hepatitis C treatment market of about $2.5 billion.

Inovio is a developer of treatment for cancer and other therapies using electroporation to deliver drugs and nucleic acids. Electroporation-based delivery of DNA-based vaccines is an enabling mechanism that enhances immune responses in several ways. The ability to enhance cellular immune responses is thought to be necessary to control persistent viral infections like hepatitis C.

"The ability of electroporation-delivered DNA vaccines to enhance both cell mediated and humoral immune responses may create a new paradigm for the treatment of viral hepatitis," said Avtar Dhillon, Inovio's president and CEO.

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