June 25, 2008
VGX Announces Publication of Preclinical Data for the Company’s Avian Flu Vaccine Candidate in PLoS ONE Journal
VGX Pharmaceuticals Inc. (VGX) announced today the publication in PLoS ONE - an international, peer-reviewed, open-access, online publication - of preclinical data for the Company's preventative DNA vaccine candidate for avian influenza, VGX-3400. The article, titled "Heterosubtypic Protection against Pathogenic Human and Avian Influenza Viruses via In Vivo Electroporation of Synthetic Consensus DNA Antigens", is available at www.plosone.org/doi/pone.0002517.
The highly pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI), or "bird flu", virus is an emerging threat that has killed millions of poultry in a growing number of countries. Health experts are concerned that the co-existence of human flu viruses and avian flu viruses (primarily subtype H5N1) will provide an opportunity for genetic material to be exchanged between species-specific viruses, possibly creating a new virulent influenza strain that is easily transmissible and lethal to humans. The pandemic potential of bird flu highlights the need for novel vaccination techniques that can quickly and effectively respond to emerging viral threats.
This study evaluated the use of optimized consensus (SynCon(TM)) influenza antigens to provide broad protection against divergent strains of H5N1 influenza in mouse, ferret, and non-human primate models. Responses in all three species tested demonstrate the ability of SynCon(TM) antigens to induce production of protective antibodies capable of providing cross-protection from divergent strains of the H5N1 subtype. Both ferrets and mice vaccinated with the SynCon(TM) antigens were 100% protected from lethal influenza challenge, with significant reductions in viral shedding and disease progression in vaccinated ferrets. These studies also demonstrated the effective use of the Company's CELLECTRA(R) constant current electroporation device in combination with the SynCon(TM) antigens to provide protection in larger animal models.
"Publication of this study emphasizes the potential of VGX technology to improve human health and safety," stated Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are optimistic that our novel vaccine program will significantly expand the prevention options for influenza."
VGX Pharmaceuticals is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to study the avian flu vaccine (VGX-3400) in humans.
About VGX Pharmaceuticals
More information about VGX can be found at www.vgxp.com.