Inovio’s proprietary technology platforms are realizing the true promise and power of immunotherapy 

Inovio is achieving what others thought impossible: utilizing DNA-based technology to activate targeted immune responses that kill virus-infected cells or tumor cells. Inovio's is like no other DNA-based immunotherapy before it, pairing a revolutionary DNA design process with a groundbreaking delivery system for an approach that is as practical as it is ingenious.

With demonstrated efficacy in a randomized, placebo-controlled Phase 2b trial and a growing evidence base, Inovio's technology has the potential to be a foundational approach in the prevention and treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.

The Inovio technology difference

Potent immune responses: Driven by a proprietary, efficacy-enhancing delivery system that produces up to a 1000-fold increase in antigen expression.
Body as medicine: It directs the body itself to generate the treatment in vivo.
Versatility: Platform provides the flexibility to target a broad range of diseases, with multiple antigens that direct a specific and potent immune response against single or multiple disease antigenic targets.
Rapid development: It reduces the time required to create proprietary antigen-targeting immunotherapies.
Designed for safety: Inovio's immunotherapies use the power of the immune system. The formulation is simple yet effective—consisting only of highly purified DNA, water, and some salt, it carries no potential toxicity from viral vectors.
“Off-the-shelf": It represents an important advancement in immunotherapies that can be pulled off-the-shelf and administered in-clinic across populations, as opposed to some T cell generating technologies that require individual ex-vivo manipulation for each patient.

Inovio Technology Platform

Inovio's proprietary platform is leading the way forward for activation immunotherapy. This one-of-a-kind platform delivers optimized DNA into cells, where it is translated into proteins that activate an individual's immune system to generate a robust targeted T cell and antibody response. Inovio's technology has generated impressive results in preclinical and clinical studies. VGX-3100, a product using the platform technology, has entered Phase 3 trials as the first immunotherapy for HPV-related cervical precancer.

The Inovio Platform Advantage

  • Robust T cell responses
  • Demonstrated clinical efficacy 
  • Entirely in vivo
  • Can be targeted to diverse tumor types and pathogens

Learn more about Inovio's technology platform and Activation Immunotherapy

Inovio's Technology Platform has two key elements:

  • SynCon® DNA sequence design process
  • CELLECTRA® DNA delivery technology

Proprietary SynCon® DNA sequence design process

  • Select appropriate microbial (e.g., viral, bacterial) antigens, or tumor-associated antigens, as disease targets
  • Create a synthetic consensus DNA sequence for the target using full-length sequences from multiple species (oncology) or primary isolates of the pathogen (infectious diseases) 
  • Modify the sequence to increase antigen production by optimizing mRNA stability, ribosome loading, and expression
  • Insert the proprietary sequence into a platform-validated DNA plasmid 
  • Deliver via CELLECTRA®
  • Cell begins to produce the antigens encoded in the SynCon DNA plasmid
  • The antigens are presented to the immune system, which activates production of antibodies and the full spectrum of T cells, including those that are known to "help" the overall immune response and those that kill infected or cancerous cells

Unique characteristics of SynCon

  • Versatile - expands the range of targetable diseases with its versatility
  • Favorable cost structure
  • Rapid design and manufacturing

Design goals of SynCon for treating and preventing infectious diseases

  • Generate production of antigens that induce cross-protection against variants or mutant strains by stimulating antibodies and T cell responses mimicking the body's own ability to launch both arms of a broad overall immune response
  • Allow for co-administration of genetic adjuvants (immune activators) to enhance the immunogenicity of the antigen
  • Facilitate rapid response to new/emerging threats

See infectious disease pipeline

Design goals of SynCon for treating and preventing cancers

  • Design to break immune tolerance
  • Design to attack the tumor from multiple directions and prevent immune-escape by using multi-antigenic formulations
  • Allow for co-administration of genetic adjuvants (immune activators) to enhance the immunogenicity of the antigen
  • Flexibility to target virtually any tumor
  • Design to provide a foundation for combination immunotherapy approaches that require a robust T cell response

 See oncology pipeline

CELLECTRA®: optimized delivery of SynCon® immunotherapies


Intact cells in the body resist uptake of DNA. This has kept previous DNA-based immunotherapies from producing the target antigens in vivo in sufficient quantities to generate the robust immune responses necessary to effectively treat cancer and infectious diseases. Inovio has developed the CELLECTRA electroporation device to efficiently deliver DNA plasmids into cells where they can be expressed to generate robust antibody and T cell responses.

Electroporation has also been shown to recruit and trigger cells involved in antigen presentation and immune response, further augmenting the benefits of superior DNA delivery.


  • SynCon DNA immunotherapy is injected into the muscle or skin
  • CELLECTRA delivers 3-4 rapid electrical pulses; each lasting only milliseconds
  • This causes temporary openings to form in cell membrane, resulting in significant cellular uptake of the immunotherapy
  • Cell begins to produce the antigens encoded in the SynCon DNA plasmid, within hours to days
  • The antigens are presented to the immune system, which activates production of antibodies and killer T cells specific to the targeted pathogen or tumor

The benefits of CELLECTRA

  • DNA uptake is enhanced 100- to 1,000-fold as measured by gene expression
  • Enables robust immune responses that target diseased cells
  • Enables SynCon DNA immunotherapies to work effectively in vivo
  • Empowers in-clinic delivery of SynCon® DNA immunotherapies

dMAb™ Technology Platform

Inovio is aiming to significantly expand the therapeutic range of monoclonal antibodies with our DNA-encoded monoclonal antibody technology. With dMAb, Inovio encodes DNA to express a monoclonal antibody. Injection of the DNA plasmid into a patient generates robust in vivo monoclonal antibody production. This approach has the potential to generate in vivo production of therapeutic antibodies.

Learn more about dMAb™ technology platform

dMAb is a potentially efficacious, efficient, and cost-effective approach to the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer.

Meeting an unmet need

The rising global threat and burden of infectious diseases and cancer have highlighted the urgent need for effective, safe, and rapidly deployable technologies for the prevention and treatment of these conditions.1

The use of passive antibody therapy with monoclonal antibodies has proven to be a promising approach to meet this goal, but current methods of development and delivery are not without barriers. The production complexity, lead times, cost, delivery, and cold chain requirements limit their potential—especially in the developing world and remote regions.1,2

dMAb: active antibody therapy

dMAb is a potentially transformative approach for the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases and cancer. dMAb is body as medicine: turning a patient’s cells into in vivo monoclonal antibody producers.

  • A DNA sequence encoding for a human monoclonal antibody is inserted into a plasmid
  • Plasmid is delivered directly to the body using CELLECTRA® for enhanced cellular uptake
  • Cells then produce the monoclonal antibody

Potential advantages of Inovio’s dMAb technology

  • Potential to produce complex antibodies in vivo
  • Allows multiple injections without anti-plasmid immunity
  • Flexible: can be designed to target viral and bacterial pathogens
  • Shortened development time as compared to classic mAbs and re-administration due to lack of serological interference
  • Potential for rapid protection against infection

Inovio’s progress with dMAb technology

Demonstrated proof of concept in animal studies of infectious diseases

Chikungunya virus (CHIKV): dMAb technology completely protected 100% of treated mice from a lethal CHIKV injection.2

Dengue virus: dMAb technology completely protected 100% of treated mice from lethal DENV infection. Importantly, dMAb treatment was able to avoid issues with antibody-dependent enhancement of disease symptoms that have been associated with the induction of sub-neutralizing levels of DENV antibodies in other vaccine approaches, or resulting from previous DENV infection.

HIV: A single administration of dMAb technology resulted in generation of monoclonal antibodies in mouse sera possessing high antigen-specific binding and HIV neutralization activity for at least 7 days.3

Influenza A & B: In this preclinical study, dMAB technology using a combination of influenza A- and B-targeted MAbs successfully protected against both lethal influenza A and B challenges. This demonstrates the ability to combine dMAbs to yield broader protection against multiple strains simultaneously.4

Partnerships and grants

Inovio has been awarded two grants from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to lead collaborative teams to develop dMAb technology for the treatment and prevention of multiple infectious diseases.

Additionally, Inovio was awarded a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to lead a collaborative team to develop dMAbs targeting Zika disease.

Learn more about Inovio’s partnerships