Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Plumbline Life Sciences announced May 15 a collaboration to co-develop a novel animal health vaccine for African swine fever (ASF) virus. The vaccine will be developed using Inovio's SynCon technology and delivered using Cellectra efficacy-enabling devices, the announcement said.
Plumbline, based in South Korea, said it will fund all development and commercialization of the ASF vaccine. Inovio and Plumbline already have a license partnership in animal health fields, and Inovio currently holds an approximately 15% equity ownership in Plumbline.
As part of this agreement, Inovio will construct and test the ASF vaccine in small animal models. Plumbline will further test the vaccine in larger animal models, including in pig challenge models and further develop and commercialize the vaccine, the announcement said.
Financial arrangements were not disclosed.
ASF is a highly contagious haemorrhagic viral disease of domestic and wild pigs, which is responsible for serious economic and production losses. There is no approved vaccine for ASF, and the current outbreak in Asia is dramatically threatening the agricultural economies of many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam and Korea. The disease is incurable in pigs but innocuous to people.
Inovio chief scientific officer Dr. Laurent Humeau said, "We are extremely pleased to apply Inovio's Synthetic Nucleics platform to develop a vaccine to combat this deadly pig virus. Inovio has a track record of developing novel emerging infectious disease vaccines, and we are pleased to work with Plumbline to further test and commercialize an ASF vaccine."
Plumbline president and chief executive officer Anthony K. Kim said, "Plumbline is very excited to collaborate with Inovio to advance a new vaccine for this horrible threat for animal health and agricultural food supplies. Plumbline has a proven track record of commercializing DNA-based therapies for animal health as we have the distinction of having our product for pigs, LifeTide SW5, already approved in Australia, New Zealand and South Korea. We will devote our full resources to commercialize a vaccine for ASF as rapidly as possible."
Plumbline, an animal biopharmaceutical company, focuses on companion animals. It develops DNA-based vaccines and therapies for animals using plasmid-based DNA delivery and expression technology by electroporation to optimize an animal's natural biological and immunological potential.
Inovio is an innovative biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of its synthetic nucleic technology targeted against cancers and infectious diseases.