Inovio Biomedical Corporation and the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) have initiated Phase I clinical studies to evaluate Pennvax-B, a DNA-based vaccine to fight against HIV.

The Phase I HVTN-080 clinical study will evaluate the DNA vaccine as delivered using Inovio’s proprietary electroporation technology in healthy individuals across multiple trial centres.

Inovio previously reported data demonstrating up to a hundredfold enhancement in immune responses in non-human primates from the vaccine when delivered via in vivo electroporation compared to syringe injection.

Pennvax-B is also in a clinical study to test safety and immunogenicity of the vaccine delivered via intramuscular syringe injection without electroporation.

Inovio president and CEO Joseph Kim said that the company was encouraged by the positive interim immunogenicity data from clinicals trial for the human papillomavirus/cervical cancer DNA vaccine using a similar technology approach.

“We are optimistic that electroporation delivery of Pennvax-B vaccine will demonstrate similar levels of safety and immunogenicity in this trial,” Kim said.

Inovio’s Pennvax-B DNA vaccine targets clade B human immunodeficiency virus, the most common type of HIV in North America and Europe. The vaccine is designed to produce and induce an immune response against the env, gag and pol proteins of HIV.