What does “revolutionizing vaccines” mean?

Conventional vaccines have protected millions of people from the devastating effects of infectious diseases. The potential now exists to expand the benefits of immune stimulation to today’s challenging infectious diseases and cancers with unmet needs; and it is clear which specific technical advancements and medical outcomes must be achieved to fulfill this potential:

  • There is a need to better define and refine immune system targets in order to induce clinically relevant immune responses.
  • Current vaccines use live or weakened viruses or parts of viruses. This approach prevents their use against diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C because of the risk, albeit small, of disease from improperly inactivated vaccines. We require vaccine technology that cannot replicate and cause disease.
  • The generation of antibodies to prevent infection must be complemented by the ability to generate T-cell immune responses capable of treating established cancerous cells and chronic infections.
  • The “one bug, one drug” paradigm, which relies on the selection and targeting of a single pathogen strain, inadequately addresses influenza, HIV and other rapidly evolving viruses. Universal protection against multiple existing as well as newly emerging strains of a virus is imperative.
  • New therapeutic vaccines must help the body to overcome its tolerance of its own self-made cancerous cells.
  • The benefits of vaccines could be enhanced if they were designed in weeks – not months and years; were manufactured more efficiently; and if they were stable without cold storage.

The history of vaccines and the effort to develop a next generation of immune stimulating technologies is rich with successes and rife with failures. The rapidly advancing science of genomics along with an array of technical innovation now makes commercializing transformational vaccine technology with the above characteristics a realistic goal. The opportunity represented by such an achievement is substantial in its medical and commercial implications.

Inovio’s goal is to revolutionize vaccines. With best-in-class immune responses from multiple vaccines in different disease areas, our synthetic vaccine technology is making big strides toward this important goal.