Inovio Biomedical Corporation has announced a research collaboration agreement with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s Vaccine Research Center (VRC) to develop vaccine candidates to treat the global flu pandemic.

Inovio has announced that it will pool technologies with the VRC in a bid to rapidly advance the development of vaccine candidates for the 2009 H1N1 swine flu pandemic strains.

Under the agreement, Inovio will test the electroporation-based delivery of novel DNA vaccines against influenza during pre-clinical animal studies to measure immune and protective responses.

Inovio will provide electroporation devices and procedures based on its proprietary intradermal electroporation technology and both organisations will provide DNA vaccine plasmids involved in encoding influenza antigens.

The companies are hoping that pre-clinical evaluation based on the results of challenge studies in animal models and immunological analyses at the VRC may lead to the selection of vaccine candidates for further clinical development.

Inovio CEO Dr J Joseph Kim said that there is a public health need to rapidly develop vaccines targeting the swine origin influenza A/H1N1.

“The VRC is a world leader in vaccine research and clinical development and this agreement further expands our global collaboration network for influenza vaccines,” Kim said.

The VRC is a centre within the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, which conducts research to facilitate the development of effective vaccines for human disease.