Inovio Pharmaceuticals acquires early stage DNA therapies to treat Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis

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Inovio Pharmaceuticals has announced that it has acquired worldwide rights (excluding China) for early preclinical therapies addressing Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis based on the academic research of Bin Wang, a professor at Fudan University’s Shanghai Medical College. Wang is a pioneer in the field of DNA therapies, having worked closely with David Weiner at the University of Pennsylvania, USA. Wang was the primary author on some of the earliest DNA vaccine papers and patents. In consideration for these rights, Inovio will make clinical and regulatory milestone payments to the University.

These newly licensed technologies are based on patent-protected and published discoveries from Wang and his collaborator, who found a novel way to generate inducible regulatory T cells, or iTreg. iTreg cells are involved in shutting down immune responses after they have successfully eliminated invading organisms, and also in preventing autoimmunity or inflammatory diseases. In multiple published preclinical studies, this approach generated CD25-iTreg in an antigen-specific manner. These novel approaches could be used to develop therapies targeting major inflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis and may be used to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

J Joseph Kim, Inovio’s president and chief executive officer, said, “Acquiring these early-stage technologies is just another step in our ultimate goal of controlling the immune system to fight diseases in a more safe and effective manner using Inovio’s immune engineering platform. Our therapeutic cancer vaccines in the clinic are designed to properly activate and direct T cells to kill cancer cells. These new candidates are designed to do the opposite by shutting down unwanted and aberrant T cell responses that cause autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. These new technologies give us the potential to go after these important disease targets.”

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