Monday, April 18, 2011

Prime-Boost Vaccine Against Hepatitis C: CInovio,Transgene & ChronTech Pharma collaborate

ChronTech Pharma, Transgene, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals to Collaborate on Prime-Boost Therapeutic Vaccination Against Hepatitis C

ChronTech Pharma AB has signed a collaboration agreement with Transgene S.A. (Euronext Paris: FR0005175080) and Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NYSE Amex: INO) to evaluate a novel therapeutic vaccination strategy against genotype 1 hepatitis C virus (HCV) in a phase I clinical study.
It is common to follow an initial “prime” vaccination with a “boost” of the same vaccine to achieve the required level and durability of immune protection. In this collaboration, the strategy is to use different prime and boost vaccines with the goal of obtaining a clinical effect by inducing different immune responses. A Phase I study, to be started later this year, will use ChronTech’s ChronVac-C® plasmid DNA vaccine delivered by in vivo electroporation using Inovio’s Medpulser® DDS as the “prime” and Transgene’s therapeutic vaccine TG4040, a modified vaccinia Ankara (MVA), as the “boost”.
DNA based vaccines delivered using electroporation and MVA based vaccines have been separately shown to be safe and immunogenic in clinical studies. The ChronVac-C® DNA vaccine delivered by in vivo electroporation using the Medpulser was recently reported to be safe and generate antigen specific immune responses and antiviral effects in a phase I/IIa clinical trial. Rapid virologic responses were seen in 5 out of 7 of the patients receiving a post-vaccination standard of care interferon-ribavirin therapy. TG4040 was itself shown to be safe and immunogenic in a phase I program. Phase II studies in combination with the standard of care are ongoing for both products. In preclinical studies, the novel combination of these DNA and MVA vaccine approaches demonstrated greater immune responses than those observed with the vaccines injected separately.
In the planned phase I clinical study, each company will contribute their respective products and equally share study related costs. The study will enroll 12 treatment-naive patients with chronic hepatitis C at a site in Germany.
“We are very pleased to combine our ChronVac-C® vaccine delivered using Inovio’s Medpulser with Transgene’s TG4040 MVA-based vaccine in a new vaccination regimen. The extensive preclinical studies that have been performed by the companies together with their unique clinical experience has paved the way for this very exciting clinical trial,” says ChronTech’s CEO Anders Vahlne.
“It is our strategy to continuously enhance the efficiency of our technology platforms. We are using the opportunity of this study to explore the prime-boost approach in the context of therapeutic vaccination against HCV,” stated Philippe Archinard, Chairman and CEO of Transgene.
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and CEO, said: "We are pleased to participate in this collaboration to develop a potentially more potent HCV vaccine combination approach and to contribute Inovio's electroporation delivery technology and its well-validated ability to transform the potency of DNA vaccines. We look forward to entering the clinic with this prime-boost approach that has demonstrated much promise in preclinical studies."
For more information, please contact:
Anders Vahlne, CEO and Head of Research, ChronTech Pharma AB
Tel: +46 8 5858 1313, mobile phone: +46 709 28 05 28,

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