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Inovio’s HIV vaccine combination Pennvax-GP succeeds in early stage trial

PBR Staff Writer Published 25 May 2017

Inovio Pharmaceuticals has reported that its Pennvax-GP HIV vaccine combination has succeeded in an early stage clinical trial by evoking nearly 100% immune response rates in participants.

The American biotech company said that its DNA vaccine combination had produced some of the highest overall levels of immune response rates ever recorded in the history of HIV vaccine studies.

Pennvax-GP is made up of four HIV antigens and is intended to treat multiple strains of the disease that are commonly observed throughout the world. The vaccine has been designed to generate an antibody immune response along with a T cell immune response, which Inovio says is capable of not only preventing HIV but also in treating the life-threatening disease.

In a trial dubbed as trial dubbed as HVTN 098, Inovio tested a four-dose regimen of its vaccine candidate administered by either intramuscular or intradermal delivery in combination with IL-12, a DNA encoded immune activator. HVTN 098 has the backing of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network (HVTN) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

The biotech company reported that 71 out of 76 participants who were vaccinated by Pennvax-GP had a CD4+ or CD8+ cellular immune response to at least one of the vaccine antigens env A, env C, gag, and pol. Likewise, 62 of 66 patients representing 94% of the evaluated participants showed an env specific antibody response.

On the other hand, Inovio said that none of the nine placebo recipients had shown any immune response.

Inovio president & CEO Dr. J. Joseph Kim said: “These results are among the highest ever responses we’ve seen with an HIV vaccine, and they are remarkably consistent with our recent data reported from our Ebola, Zika and MERS clinical trials in terms of demonstrating nearly 100% vaccine response rates with very favorable safety profile.

“Furthermore, our newer and more tolerable intradermal vaccine delivery device showed that we can elicit very high immune responses at a much lower dose.”

Inovio plans to conduct later-stage studies to evaluate Pennvax-GP further which are expected to determine its efficacy and tolerability.

Image: Inovio’s HIV vaccine candidate Pennvax-GP shows promising results in early stage study. Photo: courtesy of Areeya/