Receiving the grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases is Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc., which is collaborating with the chief scientist at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.
The device to be developed would administer multiple synthetic vaccines -- via skin surface electroporation, or electrical introduction – to U.S. troops to protect against diseases and to civilian populations to protect against pandemic threats.
"This new device would provide a means to rapidly and painlessly deliver multiple vaccines simultaneously to large groups of people," said Dr. J. Joseph Kim, Inovio's president and chief executive officer. "This collaboration builds on Inovio's strong relationship with Dr. Connie Schmaljohn and her team at USAMRIID in which Inovio is bringing medical innovation to several biodefense efforts.
"Moreover, the advancements from this project will enable rapid and efficient delivery of Inovio's SynCon®vaccines for universal flu, HIV, and other infectious diseases on a mass scale."
Inovio said in an earlier joint effort with USAMRIID, an optimized DNA vaccine for the Lassa virus delivered by surface electroporation demonstrated complete protection against the virus in animal subjects but improvements are still needed to make the electroporation technology more suitable for multiple vaccine administrations and mass vaccinations.