Inovio Pharmaceuticals Melanoma DNA Immunotherapy Inhibits Tumor Growth and Increases Survival in Preclinical Study

PLYMOUTH MEETING, Pa., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: INO) announced today its newest DNA-based cancer immunotherapy targeting melanoma induced a robust and broad immune response in animals and directed cancer-killing T cells against tumors. These results further demonstrate the power and utility of Inovio's synthetic DNA-based immunotherapy platform focused on cancers and challenging infectious diseases.

In this study, Inovio developed a synthetic DNA immunotherapy encoding the tyrosinase gene which is highly expressed in nearly 80% of melanoma tumor cells. Researchers found in mice that the tyrosinase-targeting DNA immunotherapy was very effective in infiltrating the tumor site, where it prevented tumors, controlled tumor growth, and changed the tumor micro-environment by "turning off" cells that suppress T-cell activity. Inovio's therapy also increased survival in melanoma-challenged mice versus a control group.

Study results appear in the online issue of the journal Cancer Gene Therapy in an article authored by Inovio researchers and their collaborators, entitled: "Novel and enhanced anti-melanoma DNA vaccine targeting the tyrosinase protein inhibits myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and tumor growth in a syngeneic prophylactic and therapeutic murine model."

Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and CEO, said, "Our active immunotherapy technology provides DNA code for one or more pertinent cancer or infectious disease antigens, enabling the body to produce sufficient antigen to trigger a robust, targeted disease-fighting immune response. This unique approach is simple yet powerful. With positive phase II efficacy data already reported from our lead program for HPV pre-cancers and cancers this past summer and two additional cancer immunotherapies (INO-1400 and INO-5150) approaching their first human study, we continue to add cancer-specific antigens that can be used alone or combined into active immunotherapies for essentially every cancer. We are pleased to add melanoma to our cancer pipeline, which already includes products targeting cervical, head and neck, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers."  

Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed in the United States, with an estimated 2 million new cases annually. Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, leading to 75% of all skin cancer related deaths due to systemic metastatic spread. Of the 76,000 new Melanoma diagnoses estimated to occur in 2014, approximately 12% will have progressed to stage III or IV melanoma already with a 5-year survival rate of only 15%. Even today, treatment options for melanoma remain limited.

About Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Inovio is revolutionizing the fight against cancer and infectious diseases. Our immunotherapies uniquely activate best-in-class immune responses to prevent and treat disease, and have shown clinically significant efficacy with a favorable safety profile. With an expanding portfolio of cancer immunotherapies and clinical studies, the company is advancing a growing product pipeline. Partners and collaborators include Roche, MedImmune, the University of Pennsylvania, DARPA, Drexel University, NIH, HIV Vaccines Trial Network, National Cancer Institute, U.S. Military HIV Research Program, US Dept. of Homeland Security, and University of Manitoba. For more information, visit www.inovio.com.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to our business, including our plans to develop electroporation-based drug and gene delivery technologies and DNA vaccines, our expectations regarding our research and development programs and our capital resources. Actual events or results may differ from the expectations set forth herein as a result of a number of factors, including uncertainties inherent in pre-clinical studies, clinical trials and product development programs (including, but not limited to, the fact that pre-clinical and clinical results referenced in this release may not be indicative of results achievable in other trials or for other indications, that the studies or trials may not be successful or achieve the results desired, including safety and efficacy for VGX-3100, that pre-clinical studies and clinical trials may not commence or be completed in the time periods anticipated, that results from one study may not necessarily be reflected or supported by the results of other similar studies and that results from an animal study may not be indicative of results achievable in human studies), the availability of funding to support continuing research and studies in an effort to prove safety and efficacy of electroporation technology as a delivery mechanism or develop viable DNA vaccines, our ability to support our broad pipeline of SynCon® active immune therapy and vaccine products, our ability to advance our portfolio of immune-oncology products independently, including INO-5150, and to commence a phase I clinical trial for INO-5150 in the first half of 2015, the adequacy of our capital resources, the availability or potential availability of alternative therapies or treatments for the conditions targeted by the company or its collaborators, including alternatives that may be more efficacious or cost-effective than any therapy or treatment that the company and its collaborators hope to develop, our ability to enter into partnerships in conjunction with our research and development programs, evaluation of potential opportunities, issues involving product liability, issues involving patents and whether they or licenses to them will provide the company with meaningful protection from others using the covered technologies, whether such proprietary rights are enforceable or defensible or infringe or allegedly infringe on rights of others or can withstand claims of invalidity and whether the company can finance or devote other significant resources that may be necessary to prosecute, protect or defend them, the level of corporate expenditures, assessments of the company's technology by potential corporate or other partners or collaborators, capital market conditions, the impact of government healthcare proposals and other factors set forth in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, our Form 10-Q for the quarter ended September 30, 2014, and other regulatory filings from time to time. There can be no assurance that any product in Inovio's pipeline will be successfully developed or manufactured, that final results of clinical studies will be supportive of regulatory approvals required to market licensed products, or that any of the forward-looking information provided herein will be proven accurate.

CONTACTS:
Investors: Bernie Hertel, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, 858-410-3101, bhertel@inovio.com 
Media: Jeff Richardson, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, 267-440-4211, jrichardson@inovio.com

Inovio Pharmaceuticals.

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SOURCE Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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