HPV DNA vax should enter the clinic in 2013

Vaccibody's lead therapeutic DNA vaccine, developed for the treatment of precancerous changes in the cervix caused by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, is expected to move into the clinic in late 2013 once funding is in place, the company CEO Ole Henrik Brekke told FierceVaccines  at BIO 2012. The trial will recruit women who are infected with HPV-16 and have cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN) at grade 1 or 2.

The Norwegian vaccine company has designed the vaccine to trigger a T cell response in a single shot by targeting the dendritic cells (also known as antigen-presenting cells). The HPV vaccine is administered just under the skin or into the muscle using electroporation technology, where a small charge allows the plasmid (a small circle of coding DNA) into the cell. The genetic information then harnesses the cell's manufacturing capabilities to create the three-component protein vaccine.

"We see a higher immune response than other DNA vaccines in animal studies, and it doesn't need an adjuvant," says Brekke. "We think that this is because the vaccine molecules adhere to the dendritic cells."

Future formulations of the vaccine could use needle-free administration techniques. The technology also has potential for infectious disease and in veterinary use, as a prophylactic vaccine, and the company is in discussion with a number of potential partners, according to Brekke.

- read the company overview at BIO 2012

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