Pharmexa and Ichor have entered into an agreement to co-develop multiple DNA vaccines to combat important diseases of high unmet medical need. It is well recognized that in vivo electroporation is a promising means of enhancing the potency of DNA vaccines. The co-development programmes include a vaccine against malaria as well as a universal influenza vaccine. Pharmexa's DNA vaccines were developed with the aid of its proprietary EIS® technology and are based on pathogen-derived conserved T-lymphocyte (HTL) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) epitopes. These vaccines are primarily aimed at inducing strong and protective cellular immune responses in the vast majority of people.
The universal influenza vaccine is designed to provide enhanced protection against influenza in the elderly, a growing population group particularly vulnerable to influenza-related morbidity and mortality. The epitopes included in the vaccine are derived from highly conserved portions of viral proteins from past and current viral strains, predicted to cover all human and avian strains. If safe and efficacious, this truly universal influenza vaccine holds promise as a seasonal influenza vaccine and as a vaccine against the pandemic threat.
Ichor's TriGrid Delivery System uses electroporation to open pathways into cells, dramatically increasing the intracellular delivery of the DNA vaccine into the cells at the site of administration, increasing potency over 100 times compared to other methods of delivery. Ichor's advanced, push-button electroporation system minimizes operator error and ensures the safe, rapid, effective and reproducible administration of DNA from one patient to another enabling the clinical application of electroporation in a manner capable of supporting the development and commercialization of DNA-based products.
Pharmexa will be primarily responsible for developing the vaccine component and Ichor will primarily be responsible for developing the electroporation delivery device. Financial details of the agreement were not disclosed; however, the parties will share the costs and rewards of the joint programs.