The phase 1 trial data being presented at the conference on DNA vaccines evaluate the safety, tolerability, and immune responses of the products in conjunction with Inovio's electroporation delivery system for the treatment of prostate cancer and melanoma. Electroporation involves using an electric current to open a channel in a cell through which a drug or DNA may pass.
In addition, partner Vical
Last week, Inovio reported that it ended the first quarter with working capital of just under $18 million. Just this week, the company announced plans to offer 4.6 million shares at a slight discount to its current price to raise proceeds of roughly $16 million.
In addition to Inovio's immunotherapy delivery system, the company has a device that is much closer to potential commercialization in its MedPulser. This device is designed for the local removal of tumors through electro-chemotharapy. It has received a CE Mark accreditation in Europe, and is being evaluated in two pre-marketing clinical studies -- in patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent squamous cell carcinomas of the head and neck, and in patients with newly diagnosed or recurrent skin cancers requiring potentially disfiguring surgery. Inovio anticipates completing enrollment of the head and neck study by mid-2007 and the skin study by the end of the third quarter.
Given the company's strong partnerships and recently strengthened balance sheet, I believe biotech investors should look into Inovio in advance of potentially positive clinical developments for the MedPulser later this year. There's also the promise of its earlier stage DNA vaccine delivery technology. I also like the company's lower-risk strategy of providing an innovative delivery platform technology to a variety of partners, rather than placing all of its resources into a specific treatment.
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Fool contributor Mike Havrilla, R.Ph., B.S., Pharm.D., is a Rite Aid pharmacist who lives, writes, works, and enjoys running on the streets and trails in the small Pennsylvania town of Portage. He invites your comments and feedback. Mike does not have a position in any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.